Tag Archives: flash fiction

Motions

 

She was born a hundred years old on the edge of a cliff in a rainstorm. Her idea of happiness is walking under ladders and counting how many breaths she can muster before her last one. You’d argue she isn’t living but for her there is no more beautiful way to remember she’s alive than to paint notches on the bottoms of her feet: one for every lump in her throat, two for every laugh – the massive, guttural ones that make your eyes leak and your belly seize up – because they’re the ones you feel even after they’ve gone. She spends Shavasana dreaming up war and comes away with awareness. She practices a religion of cautious writhing, she wants to know the world with the consequences of knowledge. Shred up every vital part of her and watch her pour over every piece like some hellish puzzle. She’ll never remember where everything goes but she’ll be better for it. If you want to love her, tread with a full heart, but be sure to leave some room for her to hide. She is the most passionate tragedy you’ll ever know. Don’t try and chase her, she isn’t leaving. Even in the dark, even when she’s praying, she’ll be begging you to turn a light on.

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Another Common Phrase

 

“Blood is thicker than water.”

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

There are some words and images that float past us like fireflies; they turn heads with a quick, soft glow then disappear somewhere into darkness. Even with their presence we stay in sweet, undisturbed awareness. Some make our lips curl at the edges, quicken breath, evoke the deepest, purest happiness that escapes lungs in undulating melodies. Other times, the rose-tinted shades rush open and for solid moments we are caught in pockets of undesirable reality and that dull, grey rain of life we scramble to keep hidden.

“I love you, but I don’t like you.” 

She was eight years old, built like a Popsicle stick when her father opened his mouth and snakes crawled out. She was new to nightmares, shaken by the way they squeezed out from her depths when she was sleeping, helpless. She’d just done something eight year old’s do – tracked mud in the house, dropped the milk carton, skinned her knee. If she had a nickel for every time she’d committed such crimes, that Barbie’s Dream House with two working elevators would have been at the foot of her bed already. She hugged her knees to her chest, thinking if only she could curl herself in tightly enough, she’d disappear and her father wouldn’t be standing over her with that familiar wild-eyed anger spread across his face. She hated that stare; it made him look old, much older than he was. When things were good and he smiled, laughed even, two perfect rows of teeth appeared, white as the pearls around her grandmother’s neck. When he really let go, really roared, she’d walk across the sound; for a moment the hot coals beneath her feet had disappeared.

So now there he was, draped over her like the Grim Reaper, teaching her what real life disappointment was like – its sounds, its touch – not something her head conjured up while her green eyes were closed. He didn’t need a blackboard or intricate diagrams to teach her – just silence, just gestures, a few words. A magician, her father. In just minutes he’d taught her that disappointment is a small child who does small, child-like things; she is not yet old enough to shave her legs, but old enough to know she is a burden. There was something about love in there, too, its many forms, its requirements and optional add-ons, another common phrase, another useful lesson she scribbled in a Pooh Bear diary and tucked into her non-existent chest when he wasn’t looking.

It was summer, late afternoon, when she was handed her first demon. She covered it in Elmer’s Glue and pink glitter and tucked it under her bed. She was exceptional, ahead of her time, already numb.

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The Visitor

 

The girl walked into death like walking into a coffee shop; right into that thick inviting aroma that rocks one to sleep whether you choose to drink it in or not. There was only one door, easier than she’d expected, no riddles, no guards. She still had on the same clothes she’d left in. It wasn’t dark, but it wasn’t light either, like sun sneaking in through cuts in cool stone. She spread her arms and closed her eyes and ran fingertips along the walls’ unevenness like Braille, trying hard to decipher a dream. Her life had been a single oval room, no corners to hide from the burning pass of time. She’d prayed for this all along, this lengthening hallway of the afterlife, this final sigh of relief.

Minutes passed – Heaven’s hour – and the hallway seemed to sway and stretch, reaching away from her as she navigated its barrenness. The walls weren’t changing; she felt no inviting breeze from a nearby ending. Death did nothing to stop her panic, the quickening of her unbeating heart. She thought she’d be just a cavity now. Nothingness. The undulating residue of stardust. Something inside her was stirring. “Not now,” it whispered from her throat.

She woke in the same old chair at their same old dining room table. The pieces of paper she’d scribbled on and balled up and thrown onto the floor, were now smoothed and neatly stacked in front of her, every single one blank, unused. Her cheeks were dry and when the movement came back to her fingers she found they were no longer wrapped around her husband’s pistol. Just then a breeze walked in from an open window. When she looked up her son sat just across from her, cross-legged and elbows on his tiny knees. Outside a car pulled into the driveway.

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Shaking Your Face From My Fingertips

A coffee cup on a kitchen counter makes quite a different melody when no quiet breathing from behind some wall works to fill the space between the snapping of my lighter and the static from the radio. Where do I set my plate when your elbows aren’t spread like wings so rude across the breakfast table? The last thing I remember, when your voice was still fresh in my head, I was cross-legged on a snow pile in a mall parking lot; pay no mind to the crazy woman with her head between her knees, melting the ice with her eyes. No one looked at me. I knew even though I never looked back.

Somehow I was back in our home – my home now – feet curled to one side like I should have been reading the latest romance novel with a cup of earl grey in one hand. Instead I curled fingers around a paisley printed box of tissues while distant family cooked dinner in our kitchen, not knowing where we kept the silverware. They roamed like tourists. When someone handed me a plate I abandoned my fork and wrote your name in strands of spaghetti.

“Eat,” a voice said. An uncle? A cousin, maybe. My chin rarely stopped kissing my chest. I moved in increments of someone twice my age and continued to trace your name in entrees and desserts. Eventually everyone held their plates above bent arms, an ethereal beauty about the living room in splashes of marinara red and apple pie tan calling for me to forge your signature. A hand on my shoulder begged get some rest but my artist’s mind was twisting through a snow storm.

Like a cinematic fast-forward I am having lunch years later but it was yesterday you died, and quietly I am ordering another glass of red, shaking your face from my fingertips.

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exhale everything

Searching for some writing inspiration this morning, I decided to draw some from the next song that popped up on my Pandora, and it was an awesome one.

If you’re into relaxing, sort of tranquil dubstep, check out Blackmill. I love running with their music blasting through my headphones.

 

exhale everything

 

through parted fingers

i see a landscape of you.

you are the darkest ocean

crawling up my ankles

like twine.

 

there is only cold

that fills me up

when i breathe you in,

howling freely at the trees

you exhale everything away.

 

i turn to ice under your sun

i find beauty in such stillness

it’s so silent here,

all i can listen to

is your deadening nothingness.

 

crawling is everything

when your legs won’t work,

there is nothing to grasp

and in pockets of warmth

i thaw myself of you.

 

If you decide to use your iPod/Pandora/Radio for some on-the-fly inspiration, link back here so I can read and share!

 

 

 

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Her Breath Pushes Out Like Bad Weather

tumblr_lejiq87UA81qbil4eo1_500She grasps at the edges of sheets in Royal Blue before the wind in a stale room pulls them from the sailboat mattress, bare feet and underwear just won’t do at high tide she thinks, but there’s no time to go back, we don’t have any more time, the gusts are only traveling in one direction today. Don’t relax, no deep breaths, no sighs of comfort before she dangles a limb overboard and a sock piranha leaves her with one less pink polished toe. She will use the lamp on the nightstand when it gets too dark, cast oval comfort on the sea green walls, careful not to let the cord kiss the water below. There are sharks down there, she thinks, sharks made of bobby pins and hair combs and last night’s Chinese food. And through that eggshell door with the brass knob and crooked family photo there is absolute death; unpredictable, glowing, warm, death. It waits on cobblestone streets, in busy coffee shops, at bus stops, theaters, bars, in sunlight, in strings of gold hung from trees and lampposts that light up his eyes when he kisses her on the cheek on a park bench.

She tries to roll herself up in the sailboat mattress but it won’t bend so she tries to get enough air to make it from boat to doorway, high over an octopus made of three strewn sweaters, far above a school of exotic high heeled fish. She makes it, her breath pushing out like bad weather as she grips the doorknob and pulls in, first stop the kitchen to talk to the throb knocking on her ankle.

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Creative A.D.H.D.

Hahaha!!!!!! (Scary...)

I think I’m only just now starting to catch on, but I think digging up lost fiction and trying to revamp everything all at once is my mind’s way of straying from the larger task at hand: working on my novel. Or beginning work on my writing prompt if I want to attempt to win any thing.

But – since I’m already here – I just uncovered yet another flash fiction piece (which I think could/should be more than that, but alas, is all it has come to be for now), and I’d appreciate some feedback on this as well. Forgive me for being all over the place – I am making a promise to myself to do some serious work on the previous piece I posted and put it up again, to prove I can make some sort of progress!

So in the meantime, here are some bits and pieces of a little ditty I call “Refuge”:

I died in fall, in the hours when the air is still and the sky gushes with red, and the drama of New Jersey stands frozen and suspended in some pocket of serenity. I watched the neighborhood slowly spring to life from beneath the solid oak porch of a large woman in her 80s, her pink cotton robe brushing against the cracks in the panels as rays of sunlight gave way to small glimpses of my cracked red lips.

A thin strand of brown hair lay plastered to the open wound on my left cheek. The plastic that covered my face blurred my surroundings, and through it I could just barely see the glistening reflections of frost on the empty beer cans that had found refuge with me there. My glazed blue eyes could scan only the environment which was right in front of them – they remained open, and frozen in a final position.

I couldn’t remember much about my actual death. Those last moments became a blur, like a night of heavy drinking. I had been taking a walk just three blocks from my home, the heavy night air kissing my face as I cleared my mind after a long day. He came as quietly as the wind and squeezed my fragile shoulders, the calluses on the tips of his fingers rubbing against my skin like sandpaper. His nails dug in directly above my shoulder blades and I went numb and disappeared.

It does go on for a bit, but I just wanted to give a general idea for now.

 

Beautiful (and creepy).

Now you may be wondering why this girl is stuffed under some old woman’s porch. Oh, you’re wondering how she’s telling a story from the other side, too? Pft. Let’s just say I was feeling very inspired by a certain Alice Sebold after reading The Lovely Bones.

It was one of those things that just popped into my strange mind and made its appearance on the page. I would love to keep working on this one and developing it into something lively. But for now, what do you think of the general story? Is this something that could be of interest to you, if it was to be built on?

As always, I’d love the feedback.

Decisions, decisions…

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Of Murder and a Praying Mantis

Look out, boys!

Men think the majority of us women are crazy. But they should be counting their lucky stars that they’re not a male praying mantis, or their life would end shortly after completing one of men’s favorite past-times. (Do I really have to elaborate here?)

While at the writing event I attended about a month back, I spoke with a fellow writer who handed me a card bearing the silhouette of what appeared to be an ant, and the title, The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Now, I will admit, I had to Dictionary.com the word “entomology”, and was surprised at what I found.

entomology

[en-tuhmoluh-jee]

noun

1. the branch of zoology dealing with insects.

A little confused, a lot curious, I hopped on my computer and went directly to the site.

An excerpt from the About Us section, found on www.grumpsjournal.com

The Journal of Unlikely Entomology is a new literary market for fiction that delves into the world of things that creep and crawl and explores the limits of what it means to be human. The Journal publishes biannually in May and November, with an additional roving mini-issue some time during the year.”

Suddenly I understood. And it was awesome.

I did a little bit of snooping, and found some wonderful writing (particularly this story: http://www.grumpsjournal.com/jue1/stories/jue1-ness.html) and great artwork.

Then I remembered a short story I wrote for a creative writing course about two years ago, and thought it an interesting idea to dig it up, dust it off, and do a bit of editing. Then, just maybe, I’ll cross my fingers and toes and send it off for consideration. After all, what are the chances I come across a literary journal dedicated to all things creepy-crawly, and here I am sitting on a story about a woman that turns into a praying mantis and eats the skulls of her lovers?

Fate!

(Maybe.)

Anyway, before I begin the editing process, here is a raw glance at Prayer to a Charlatan God. Please keep in mind that my writing has developed over the last year or two, and this has not been touched in quite a while.

“What the hell are you doing?” His words were quick and panicked.

She lifted herself off of him, the suction-cup sound of parting flesh lost among groans and cries. The stark white walls were decorated in a modern-like splash of red as she raked his chest. He fell silent and she leaned her head back, her jaw slowly unhinging with a quiet pop and lowering itself between her breasts. She swallowed him back to the base of his thick neck, the crunch of bone and Velcro-like tear of muscle arousing her as he was separated from his own shoulders.

She closed her eyes and ran her fingers across her throat, massaging as she broke him down. Her jaw reattached with ease as she finished. She said a prayer and dressed, slowly, enjoying the view.

Hahaha. Boys, beware!

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A quick and bloody post.

Reposted from Albert Berg's Unsanity Files. Ouch.

Last week, a blogger I subscribe to asked his fellow writers to post a short story in response to this rather disturbing picture he posted (and had received quite a reaction to). So, in honor of my love for all things bloody and gory, I came up with the story below. Quick, to the point, hopefully somewhat entertaining.

 

Thank goodness I remembered the pliers.

 

The hammer I found in the bottom drawer of her dresser (beneath the socks and a sachet of lavender) wouldn’t get the job done correctly; why was it there in the first place? She didn’t seem like the type to worry about intruders. She let me pass by her in the doorway on the notion that I was there to fix the plumbing. She hadn’t even called the landlord to complain of a clogged drain.

She begged for her life a few times (I’m only assuming here) through the lace pair of underwear I had stuffed in her mouth, and may have said something about a brother or a boyfriend. A roommate? I’m still not sure. If there was one, they didn’t show up during my brief visit.

She moaned and slid across the bathroom floor like a fish gasping for air, while I hummed my favorite Mozart piece and pulled a fresh pair of latex gloves up around my wrists. I gave each one a snap (my favorite part) and sighed. I picked up the hammer and turned to face her.

She looked up at me, slumped against the gleaming porcelain and panting. The walls, the toilet, the sink, blinded me with their purity; she kept a very clean house. I felt sorry to make a mess of it.

“Now, this will only take a second.”

One swing and she was quiet. The hammer turned out to be good for something.

The panties out of her mouth, her teeth gleamed as purely as her surroundings. Just another day at the office.

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