Beautiful. When I was young I saw beauty in the stardust sprinkled across the sky like tiny grains of sugar, sticking on my tongue and melting away the bitter coffee-stains discoloring my corners. Back then beauty was something far away and unattainable, something similar to being hopeful and having friends without whispers and sun without burns and poetry without rhymes, something strange
Mari freaked out. Mari majorly freaked out. What the hell just happened?! She thought. Her hand just mystically went through the battered guys back. Her heart was definitely racing now. This was definitely not normal. Wait a minute, what was normal again? Mari wondered to herself.
“Jason!” She yelled out for him. Jason came running over to her. Luckily, the road that Mari lived near was deserted so not many cars come driving by. There’s been rumors of victims who were attacked and cars that were pretty much beaten. Yes, you heard the word. Beaten. Not just with bats, but more like hammers and some kind of scratching mechanism that caused large slashes on the cars.
A clock ticks on the wall, power from its batteries driving its hands in endless circles. As the hands spin a classroom of students look on, sitting tense in their seats. The teacher stands watching the clock. Nobody speaks, nobody hears, everyone watches the clock as words fly worthlessly around them unspoken and unheard.
He was silent for a few seconds, after I had caught his lie. The neck tie is ugly, with patterns too wild to be allowed on frail accountants. Waiters walk behind him with bottles of wine that remind me of my own glass. I sip on it, watching his brown eyes dart from me to my girlfriend, Sophia.
“Martin meant his father’s property, he is looking for his own further down the valley…” Clarice attempts a rescue, arms crossed over her bulging cleavage. She smiles at me but I can tell from her eyes how much of an asshole she thinks I am.
New York; a city ruled by skyscrapers its people busy in their own lives and work. Everyday was peaceful and calm and the welcoming face of the Statue of Liberty greeted the ships coming into the harbor.
But today the city was in chaos. It’s once loyal law-abiding citizens were now running mad, trying to get out of the city anyway they could. Some found this as an opportunity to rob and create riots while others chose to rape the fleeing women.
And all this was because of one man. One video tape.
When you start a story off with a question, it draws the reader in, it hooks their attention and it pushes them to keep reading so to say. Isn’t that what your teacher tells you? When you’re writing a paper, the teacher tells you to start the paragraph off with a quote or a question right? What if I started this story with both? A quote and a question.
The question is simple, it’s one many ask each other and even think about when something strange happens. So I ask you this, do you believe in ghosts? I didn’t until a few days ago, and I’m still not even sure how it happened, or what even happened for that matter.
Tourists in their careful plush sweaters loom near the edge, where they capture seafoam and ragged rocks in cameras and telephoto lens. Vacation memories or digital dead weights slung near dead white seashell strings that decorate their skin. It’s up to you how close to get, but I hold you back against images of your head split on the rocks below. It can’t happen like that. My fists would break the sea when I follow you down.
There are words strapped to my ankles, as the bed leans forward to catch my mind and save it from my shivering body. It is summer, but somehow, impulse outweighs climate, tonight. These words are foreigners, even to themselves: strangers dwelling in their own bodies. I can’t hear anything clearly; nothing definite so that I can memorize and define. I faintly make out “drive” but all I can think about is flight.
I took a metal pot outside today. Sometimes, the weather does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It rains sometimes exactly the night that you need it to. Tonight, I need it to rain. One year later, one year after all the things I thought were constant turned into the things that would never be the same, one year later and I’m burning all the pictures of you.
I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I just don’t need them anymore. Plus, my therapist told me a year ago that burning things can be very therapeutic. At the time, I wasn’t ready to burn you, so I thought You know what would be therapeutic to burn right now, lady? A fucking cigarette.
I’ll admit it, openly and without shame. I’m hunting for something. Hunting for that occupation— of the body or the mind— that completes the circuit and floods my soul with light. And in the meanwhile, I hang on to moments like these…
I didn’t know you smoked. I guess I wasn’t surprised, knowing your past, but I guess I was naieve in assuming it was all in your past. So when you apologized for what you were about to do, then lit up a cigarette… I held my breath, keeping a smile on my face because I didn’t want you to think I was offended. And then I realized— I wasn’t offended. The smile on my face was real.
I always thought that crows were ugly, with their dirty wings and the way they scattered their feathers along the sidewalk as if leaving parts of themselves behind so that even when their insides rotted beneath car tires and fell through the sky like harmless army missiles their story would remain, printed on shiny black feathers
The willow weeping, drenched in rain, illuminated under the streetlight, as Will watched the storm from his bedroom window. If you looked at the bottom of his left bed post you would find 364 tallies, marking each day for the past eleven months and 29 days. If you wait ten more minutes, you will find 365.
Will’s clock read 3:47 A.M. He watched it intently as the hands moved in rhythm with each other. With each second his heart beat a little harder and with each minute his leg shook a little faster.
He didn’t have a name. It was lost long ago on the dirt tracks and highways he travelled.
When he turned up in the small town Edlex, the townsfolk were watchful, their beady eyes following his steady progress along the grassy park. They watched everything he did, judging him based on what he was and how he lived. Not that the Traveller minded much. He didn’t think about it.
Strange things began to happen in the Traveller’s presence. Dogs would bark, cats would hiss and birds went quiet as though singing around this man was a curse. The townsfolk watched the Traveller whistle like a lorikeet and cluck like a chicken at any animal that dared to move too close. The Traveller was strange, that much was true, but did that mean he should be shunned from the town?
‘Dali’ was a very unusual name for a fairly good looking young girl. But then that was her name and it suited her pretty much. She was indeed a ‘Dali’ or a branch extended out of a tree of cheerfulness. She looked surprisingly young and very sweet for a maid. In fact, when Mangesh saw her for the first time, he had dismissed her and sent her back, saying she was too young. It took some convincing from Brij Behari, the watchman and Kumavat, her husband to prove that she was 21 and very much married. Since then, for the last 2 years, she has been doing the household chores and taking care of Mangesh’s utterly lazy and timid life style just like a wife, sister or a daughter would do.
Cale woke up to the sound of the old screen door slamming shut. His eyes snapped open and his right hand flew out to touch the place on Anna’s side of the bed where the sheets were ruffled and still warm. He closed his fist around the thin blankets and inhaled slowly, closing his eyes again as his chest swelled before letting all his air out in a quiet groan, heaving himself upright. This was the third time in the past six days that Anna had woken up in the middle of the night and wandered to the front porch. He rubbed his eyes and squinted at the digital clock on the nightstand. The red blared 3:41 at the darkness. Half an hour earlier than the last time. Cale stretched his arms, got to his feet, and made his way down the stairs with stiff knees.
And there it was. This look on your face like you were going to jump off the bridge and hit that ice cold water, letting your face feel what it’s like when your heart breaks. Let your body disperse, I say. You want to be a part of that current that’s taking everyone around you into something called happiness. And why not? Why not be new inside of these rapids? Why not find something worth holding onto, and then you both get carried away? There’s a dawn somewhere like polished glass just waiting for you to look through it and be content.
The dream is always the same. I’m standing behind a two way mirror, looking into a room that I guess used to painted red but all the paint is peeling off the walls. The room is split in two, and there are two versions of me on either side of a dividing wall that’s painted a dull grey colour.
In one half of the room there’s a crowd of people, you’re there. And so is she.
A single tear dropped into the ocean from the cheek of a boy, who was no more than seventeen years of age. The boy had been raised on this shoreline and knew nothing else. He came from a family that had once thrived, but now they had faded into lost and drifting souls. His mother was a waitress, and was rarely home. His sister had left for the east coast, seeking a new life. His father, he lay breathless and cold in his grave beneath a sheet of thick brown dirt and blades of green grass.
Two years ago the boy would have been smiling, laughing, and enjoying his perfect life. However, he could remember the day that his life crumbled apart as if it were yesterday.
The explosion brought Jim Peters upright in bed. He sat there, leaning back on the heels of his hands, blinking stupidly at the wall. His vision cleared and he looked down at Myra, just stirring beside him. Myra opened her eyes.
“Southwell Minster really would be the most beautiful place to die.”
The resonating acoustics carry my voice to where she is sitting on a pew near the front of the church. Her delicate neck twists, her long shimmering hair moving with millisecond delay, her face disapproving.
“You shouldn’t say such things Oscar,” she admonishes, but her voice is far from harsh. Her voice could never be harsh – low and smooth, every decibel the contralto.
The cattle were near the grove. Some stood, some reclined in the grass.
Eli opened the gate, walked to the bale, grabbed the scythe and swung it in the air, remembering the weight. He walked towards the cows and heifers. He dragged the scythe behind him in the dirt, holding the top of the handle, and when he reached the long shadows from the trees he heard a voice calling.
He turned around and saw Sal gesturing at the fence. He waved to the man and walked on.
Is it really morning? Is it really this morning? I brace myself for the sun to blind me as soon as I open my eyes. That same sun had begun to brighten the sky by the time I finally fell asleep, so it isn’t a wonder that I feel so tired. I had been so anxious last night, with too many thoughts battling each other in my mind. It’s time to get up, but I cling to my white sheets, grudgingly letting my dreams slip out of my brain and the idea of staying in bed forever slip into it.
I roll over. Press my mouth to his ear. “Hi,” I whisper. He licks his lips. That always sounds gross in my head when I read it, He licks his lips, like the guy is some pedophile and he’s got a girl in sight, or he’s is about to eat a Big Mac, or I don’t know. It’s never sexy in my head.
An awkward silence filled the air of the Mulburn Tavern as soon as the question left the boys lips. He was not one of the regulars and so couldn’t hope to have known such an innocent question could stir such emotions in Joe Murray. But despite the time that had passed since he moved here from New Hampshire in his mind the reasons he left were still raw as a freshly picked scab. He was slumped over the bar, head in his hands. The boy looked around the ashen faces of the regulars trying to make sense of what he had done.
“Did you hear about the dam failing over at Redhill a couple of years back?”
“No, I-I didn’t. Was anyone hurt?” As soon as he started asking the follow up question I pushed him and mouthed “what’s wrong with you?!” But it was too late.
A soft mellow brightness was generously making its way through the cracks in the Venetian blinds, surrounding the bed with a gentle glow. Feeling the warmth, I sleepily opened my eyes. There you were, still lost in a world of dreams. Lying on my side, I watched, almost hypnotised by the slight motion of your chest moving up and down with each breath of air you took and exhaled. Subconciously, I reached over to brush a strand of hair from your face.
It’s been a year since we mutually ended our relationship. Life just got in the way and neither of us could commit when other commitments became a higher priority. We thought remaining friends would be difficult, but we’ve always been the best of friends, and neither of us wanted to let go of that. We were childhood friends, and that wasn’t something we were going to casually throw away. Our friendship meant a lot, to the both of us. It was simple, until last night.
There was no going back now. This was it. He would be her first time lover.
It wasn’t even special nor was it magical, it was far from how she had pictured the way it would span out. It was not romantic in any sense. He just chose an insignificant day. It was cold and raining, the weather prevented them from leaving. She felt like he had planned this. The state of weather had never been a problem for them before. She rarely went to his house to meet up before a date, but he had unpredictably asked her to, this time. He told her that he had something to take care of and she should come over first. She had her suspicions, but dismissed them as her over analysing the situation, as she often did when she let her mind wander and jump to nonsensical conclusions.
Dani awoke with a gasp to the thundering sound of a knock at the front door. As she approached the door two things crossed her mind. First off, the person knocking was clearly an idiot, it was a hard door, that kind of banging was sure to leave a bruise, besides, there was a glowing door bell right there off to the side. The second thought was more profound; she knew deep inside, call it women’s intuition, if she opened the door, nothing would ever be the same again. She desperately didn’t want that door to open. Not now, not ever again.
She stood up on wobbling legs. She looked around the dimly lit front room. She looked at the couch she and Sam loved to cuddle on, even after all these years. The stairs that little feet were always running too fast on and the BMX bike parked in the front hall.
She exhales vanilla lace, I barely dreamt her yesterday Read the lines in the mirror through the lipstick trace: “Por Siempre.”
They say the day they met was the day it started snowing. Sign of a one-month-early winter, snowflakes gently fell and formed heaps of white snow over the streets. The citizens took the unexpected event as a joke from nature and gladly celebrated it by playing outside, completely ignorant to the fact that the early snow was fate’s reaction to something that had gone really wrong.
Late July afternoon makes it the sweetest spot in Nainital. But not for Mahi. A wait for half and hour at the ‘other’ side of the lake was troublesome. There were these occasional visitors passing by on the walk way. And there was this threat of some one known spotting her around this cozy place and letting her father know about it. Moreover it was not only about some one spotting here there. It was also her dress. Born to a Brahmin, she was standing there as a burqua clad woman. Juzer was late again… this time by 30min. It made her even more restless. Mallital other wise is a beautiful place to be, especially with the accompanying rain.
Eve can feel the synthetic oil getting thick inside her veins, the electrical pulses fading as they spark along the silver coils in her chassis. Power has long since stopped flowing from the wall socket, but she’s still plugged in. It would cost precious energy to move.
The worklights have died, plunging the corridors and terminals of the Ark into darkness. All she can see is her heads-up display. As she watches, the battery gauge clicks over from two percent to one. The battery critical alert has been winking for hours. She wishes she could turn it off to save power and postpone her death by a second or two. But this host wasn’t designed with that capability.
The shadow of a man exits Lenora’s apartment like a spirit leaving a body after an exorcism. When the shadow has evaporated Lenora closes the heavy door without a sound and hobbles into the airless apartment where she is greeted with empty bottles of rum and vodka in the living room.
She takes with her what she can manage into the kitchen, four sticky glasses in each hand. Dragging her bare feet on the kitchen tiles she nearly takes a spill, slipping in a puddle of beer. Two of the glasses smash down on the floor and Lenora jumps over the broken glass, her bare feet hovering like floating clouds over a hurricane. She puts the survivors of the fall into the already crammed dishwasher and turns it on.
Sam cursed as he listened to his ipod. He hated walking home with a heavy bag. He turned his ipod off and suddenly heard someone calling his name.
Sam turned to see a figure far away running towards him, waving something. He recognized the figure immediately, it was hard not. At 6 foot tall and jacked up with muscles, it was his best friend, Jack Salmons.
The moon was full, the sky was clear, the wind was blowing hard swaying the trees like they were made of anything but wood. How can air bend something so strong? So sturdy? I’ve never understood it, like I’ve never understood how airplanes stay in the air or how light is the fastest thing the world has ever known, how calls come through or how emails pop up so quickly. There’s explanations I know, there are people who can go on and on about it, trying to make me understand, trying to make me as smart as them. But I don’t listen. I tune out as soon as they start talking and everything else they say seems to be in another language to me. I prefer not to know, it’s better that way, life’s better when you don’t know everything. So much better. I still bring it up though, I still ask why some stars are brighter than others and why the sun seems to get hotter every day, I still wonder and I still say my thoughts out loud even though it’s an invite for people to explain it all to me. I guess they’re just too clever for me. Too smart for me.