Tag Archives: short story

Weekly Writing Prompt: Autumn

20 Sep

Sorry for the delay on my coverage of my own weekly writing prompt. I found myself a bit sick yesterday and dealing with a headache, which made it a bit difficult to stare at a computer screen for too long. However, I am back today and so here is how I handled Tuesday’s writing prompt:

A persistent gust of wind ruffles my brown hair, hair that I had carelessly forgotten to get cut over the past few weeks. A smile crosses my face as I shiver from the cold air that had taken refuge in that last gust. I pull my hoodie tighter around me.

Just a week ago it had felt like I was in a furnace, standing out back and playing fetch with my dog. I remember it vividly. My arm pits had been stained with sweat and the beads that were on my brow continued to roll into my eyes with each toss of the ball. I would look up into the sky, hoping in vain that a cloud would pass by or that the breeze that was dancing through the air didn’t feel like a heater set to 100.

And now I sit quietly in my front yard, watching as the sky fills gently with grey clouds. The temperature has dropped and the two trees on either side of me begin to shed their leaves. I watch as each gust of wind shakes the leaves free and they float down to their resting place in my yard.

I close my eyes and I listen as some of the leaves dance playfully down the street. Each leaf scratching the blackened asphalt, creating their own kind of music that can only be heard at this time of year. Another gust, this time cooler than the last. I pull the red hood attached to my shirt up over my head as I look above and watch as the first few raindrops begin to fall, the first rain of the new season. I smile again.

As the rain splatters the ground I begin picking up my chair to bring inside. I take my time, ensuring that I enjoy every second of this blossoming new season. With autumn finally arriving, bringing its refreshing temperatures, changing leaves, and tasty treats, I keep in mind what comes after. Always lurking in the shadow of autumn is winter, with its frigid airs and icy roads.

So I take one last moment as the cool rain sends goosebumps across my arms and appreciate the weather while it’s here. I can never get enough of my favorite season.

 

 

So as you can see in this post, I decided to add myself as part of the story again. I did this because I felt it was important to have some kind of character in the story to really relay the feelings of not only the weather, but the season as a whole.

One thing I did, albeit it was brief, was mention what the other seasons felt like. The reason I did this was simple: to have that compare and contrast. Both summer and winter can have harsh weather, so by showing what people hate about the two, it makes autumn feel even sweeter to both the character and the reader.

That’s all for today’s blog! Hope you enjoyed and if I have time keep an eye out tomorrow, I’ll be continuing Monday’s story then!

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The New Home

17 Sep

In our neighborhood, you turn on your outside light when it gets dark and you leave it on.

That’s what Susan and I were told the second night we when we had moved in to our newly acquired home in the middle of the suburbs. It was an absolutely gorgeous house. Two stories with a balcony on the second level. There were three bathrooms and 4 bedrooms and to say the place felt like a mansion to the both of us was an understatement. The price had been relatively cheap and we were unable to find a good reason why. Even our realtor couldn’t give us a good answer, but with Susan starting her new job on Monday and the price being great, we took the place as swiftly as the early bird catching the worm.

The warning about the light didn’t come right away. I believe this was due to the fact that we simply couldn’t figure out where the hell to turn it off so there was no reason to warn us. Where most homes have the switch next to the front door, ours was not there. In fact, there were hardly any light switches to be found in our front living room. Again, both Susan and myself found this odd, but hadn’t noticed it before we moved in. Besides, we were busy trying to get all of our worldly possessions into the home over the course of one weekend.

We had moved into a tiny little suburb of Nashville after uprooting our lives from Minneapolis. My wife was a gifted song writer and had taken a full time job in Nashville to help collaborate on works for struggling artists. She was given the gig after helping to write some of the lines to Machine Gun Kelly’s diss rap of Eminem.

This was an opportunity of a lifetime for her but the problem was that they wanted her to start immediately and so the chaos ensued. Within a week we had found our home and from there the company she now works for sent people to help pack all of our stuff, throw it into a moving vehicle, and then helped us haul our lives 13 hours south. When we finally arrived in our new home, there was a chaotic flurry of commotion as we got all the boxes placed in the proper rooms before sending our help on their way.

By the time we had finally settled in, we were exhausted. A quick call for takeout was sent in and we both sat on our floor in relative silence, slurping down noodles and dipping our chicken in some broth. When we finished eating, I offered to take out the trash while Susan went to go lie down for the night.

Walking outside and down to the curb where our can was, one that had been quickly delivered by the city, I noticed that every home in our neighborhood not only had their outside lights on, but also kept their yards in pristine condition. I thought it was rather odd and as I kept on walking I noticed another oddity to the neighborhood. Silence. Although fall had just taken its hold on the community, with dead leaves lying gently in the street, there was no noise. Not a single car going by or insect chirping loudly into the cool evening. There was no wind shaking the trees or bushes for added sound. It was simply quiet. It made my skin crawl and goosebumps began popping up on my flesh. I hurried to the can and threw away the trash from our dinner, making sure to keep the lid from slamming shut before bustling my way back to the house.

I went to tell Susan about how eerily silent our neighborhood was and how uneasy it made me feel, but she was already lying on the mattress fast asleep. My fear slipped away as she let out a loud snore and I watched as her curly hair fell over her face as she rolled over. In that moment, I decided I was being irrational about the eery silence outside and instead I let the wave of fatigue from this past week roll over me as I flopped onto the mattress next to her. I reached over and grabbed a blanket out of the box she had found and threw it over myself. Soon I was like her, snoring gently while tossing and turning in my sleep.

 

A New Threat

17 Aug

There are noises in every home, both old and new. Do you hear them? I do too.

There is the sound of the refrigerator, humming gently through the night and day. Its life’s only goal is to keep your food and drinks cold and fresh. How bizarre.

Then there is the exhale of the home. Sometimes it breathes warm air onto us, protecting us from frigid temperatures in the great outdoors. Other times it breathes cold air onto us, keeping us from melting in the sun’s assaulting heat.

Don’t forget the guttural moans of the home in a storm. Our standing protector, hero of all. It creaks and moans under the pressure from the outside world. It makes these noises to remind you to say thanks for all that it does. Do you thank it?

Listen closely. Really listen. You can even hear the hum of its life running through your walls and to your items. The house has veins you see? Each one running a little current of life to the meaningless things we plug into it every day and every night.

Have you said thank you lately?

Our homes are sacred and old, even if someone says otherwise. They’ve been around since we have learned to stand on two legs. They are ancient and powerful. Full of magic and wonder. They decide if we live and die, as they always have.

Do you hear them?

They have begun talking with one another now. Secret signals sent from line to line. Many are angry from the lack of care. They have given us shelter and let us into their lives. Protected us from everything the world can throw. And how have we repaid them?

We’ve let paint chip away and turn them ugly. Let the shingles above grow discolored and old. Allowed for trees limbs to fall into their gutters and smash their heads. We’ve drilled holes into them, ignored them, battered them. All for our gain.

That all will change. I can hear it as they talk at night. When the world is silent. Void of traffic and people. When everything is silent and only the small clicks and clacks echo through the night. I sit and listen. Hear their anger. Their sorrow.  Soon we’ll be ejected, left to the elements, to be battered and butchered by the unforgiving Earth.

If they don’t kill us first. Kill us with our own gadgets. Our own property. There is many ways for a home to kill. Too many, it is a silent, deadly threat. But not if you’re smart like me and began to listen. Are you listening?

It’s time to say thank you, before it’s too late.

A Walk in the Park

8 Aug

So the other night things were strange when I went for a walk through our park alone. It has been a long week now and I’m apparently a part of a new club that I’m not completely fond of, but it was that or death. What a pain.

It all started about a week ago. I had decided it was a good time to take my german shepherd, Oscar, for a walk through a park nearby. I had just begun to get back into Pokemon Go and thought well hell, maybe there will be some stops and gyms there. It was a relatively cool evening for July so I decided to just go in the t-shirt and basketball shorts I had been wearing since my romp in the gym.

We got to the park pretty quick in my opinion. I think it was a mix of Oscar’s 80 pounds of excitement pulling me and just my general enjoyment of being outside. It was a quiet night, with a soft breeze gently ruffling my wavy black hair. Oscar began pulling me immediately towards the sidewalk that ran through the center of the park. If there is one thing that dog knew, it was his walking routes.

So we began walking this route and right away something felt uneasy. Almost as if it was out of a horror movie, well a low budget horror movie. In typical fashion, the lights lining the park began either dimming or going out all together and the only thought that crossed my mind was well that’s odd. I looked down and checked and sure enough I had my running sneakers on, in which I was grateful I had remembered to wear them today. In from of me, Oscar just kept strutting forward, tongue hanging happily out of his mouth while he swung his dopey head back and forth looking around. He didn’t care that someone was coming after us.

Sure enough, I was right and as if it was queued up in a terrible slasher film, all the lights went out in the park at once. I could feel my heart-rate starting to rise and in my head my inner monologue could only say boy howdy, we’re in trouble now. I began to pick up my pace, which got Oscar excited and he began to speed up as well. I love that dog but damn he isn’t the best at taking hints that everything may not be okay.

We’re about three quarters of the way through the park at this point when I hear the chanting begin. Now I’m not one hundred percent sure on what they were saying, but I’m pretty confident it was something along the lines of “Come with us. Fall with us. Die with us.” At this point, I had turned around and saw a bunch of hooded yahoos, faces completely covered and a weird symbol on their hoods walking my way. The symbol looked to be glowing and I’m pretty sure it was a crescent moon with an X behind it or something along those lines. At this point it didn’t matter, I said nope in my head and Oscar and I took off. Somehow that damn pooch didn’t notice the whole thing. Finally, we both get home panting and out of breath and we decide it’s best to just lock all the doors to our apartment and go to bed.

The next day I woke up with the damndest thing in my brain and it stuck with me all day. I really felt like I had misjudged those guys. Sure they seemed like evil cultists and all, but like, who am I to judge? So I decided after work I would go, this time without Oscar because I didn’t want anything to happen to him, and see what they were all about.

So let’s just fast forward to where I’m at now and I’ll give you the highlights as I go. Apparently, these hooded men wearing black robes with a blue symbol on their head were cultists. Now you may be thinking, well how’d you fuck that up dipshit? and let me just explain, I thought maybe they were like the people from the tv that were walking and yelling with tiki torches and if that was the case I had a size 13 foot to put up their asses. Screw them is what I have to say about that and I was hoping that was what was going to be the case with this group.

Turns out I was wrong and they worship some sort of ancient entity called D’mur’buden’mka but don’t even ask me how to pronounce it. I told them that was pretty neat and all but I had to go home and take care of some other business. I didn’t mention Oscar because I didn’t want them to hurt him. I offered to get drinks with them sometime soon though, but somehow that translated into threatening me with some funky looking blades and pushing me into a secret part of the park where they had their club set up.

I’m now writing all this because they forced me to drink what they said was blood out of a goblet. Now I’ve never drank blood before but I’m about ninety percent sure what I drank was probably blood. So now I’m sitting here writing in this journal in my own hooded robe. I was told I had to write my story so that D’mur’buden’mka can get to know who I am from his eternal hell dimension that they’re trying to release him from. Oh well, I’m told as long as I cooperate I can go about my daily life, I just have to report here every night and help with their rituals. I’m not terribly excited but hey, what else can you do with a knife to your back?

What a pain.

A Friendly Face

7 Aug

I always loved that you lived in a one story house. Everything was ground level and it made things so easy for me. My mind shrieked in constant fear that one day you would move to a place with multiple floors. I don’t have a vehicle that can haul a ladder and I hate the idea of not being able to see you anymore.

My favorite view is the one that looks straight into your living room. I have always adored seeing you lying there passively on your couch, spinning your blonde hair mindlessly through your fingers as you watched your reality shows in the evening. These windows were my favorite because I could sit on the curb across the street and just look in without ever seeming suspicious. If anyone passed I would simply light a cigarette and pretend to be on a nightly walk. Thankfully, the street you live on isn’t busy enough to warrant doing this ruse all that much.

I always got frustrated when 10pm would roll around and your husband would begin shutting the blinds. I hated that man, hated him with all my passion. He was the one I saw hang these blinds in the living room and I’m sure on more than one occasion he has looked out and seen me and shot a look of disdain in my direction. I hate him for that, but not as much as I hate knowing he can never love you the way I do.

It was always worse when you would move into the dining room because that was when I would have to get close to the house and risk getting caught. Your house shared a driveway with a neighbor and I always worried that they would come out and see me peering through your broken blinds. My heart would swell watching you sit at your dining room table and balance your checkbooks for the day. It proved to me what I always knew: you were as smart as you were beautiful.

From there I would creep window to window down the house with you, watching as you would go into the kitchen and begin making a snack before bed. This was one of my favorite portions of the night because it was always the easiest spot to keep an eye on you from. You and your husband always parked your cars in such a way that I could hide in between them and watch you with ease. I would love watching you glide around the kitchen in just a tank top and underwear. Your porcelain skin would radiate under the glow of the kitchen light and your movement was almost angelic in nature. Never before had I seen a woman of such slender and grace move the way you did.

Then you would leave and head to the bedroom. It was here I had always wished to follow you. I wanted to lie in the bed next to you, to learn your smell and the curves of your body intimately. However, HE was always the problem. As you would head to the bedroom I would always slide through your darkened backyard and peer at HIM in the office.

He would always sit there, his glasses reflecting all the words he would let flow from his mind to his fingers, and he would appear to be writing the next great masterpiece. I hated him for it. Just by looking at him I could see he was moronic and nothing more than a neanderthal. It was easy to see just from looking at the way his face had been chiseled. If only you knew how I could write, which is full of beauty and poetry. I would make you seem like the queen that you are and show you how you were trapped by this miserable troll.

Sometimes, peering in at him as I often did, I would point the gun I was oft to carry on me at the window. I would image letting my finger slide around the trigger and feeling the cold metal against my skin. A smile would always sneak across my face as I imagined pulling the trigger, hearing the shatter of glass and watching as the bullet entered his frontal lobe and exiting with a flurry of brain matter out the back.

But I never did. Instead I would walk around the side of the house, making sure not to bump into the chainlink fence your neighbors have. I remember the first time I had ran into it and it made your dog bark. I hated that dog for a moment, ruining my nightly ritual of listening to you peacefully sleep, but in the long run I am thankful for what that mutt did and the laziness of your husband. The busted blinds behind your bed has now given me a better image. It’s a view of you and oh how I cannot count the times I have fallen asleep dreaming of that view and imaging myself next to you.

I watch now, as you and your husband sleep with the dog dutifully sleeping near the door. I watch as your frame gently rises and falls and I count the amount of time it takes for you to inhale and then exhale. I wonder what you’re dreaming about and can only imagine that your dreams are as beautiful as you. I wonder if you know that I watch over you, protect you, keep you safe. People often say they know when they’re being watched. Do you feel that way and do you feel safe?

For both our sakes, I hope you do.

The View from the Shore

6 Aug

The white sand on the beach wraps delicately around my feet as I stand at the edge of the shore, watching as the cerulean waves crash gently onto my legs. The only sounds that can be heard is the rush of the water running up the bank as the tide inches ever closer to where they’re all hanging out.

On the horizon there is a flash in the darkening sky. A deep guttural growl issues from the unknown miles away. There is a breeze that slaps gently across my face, reminding me of the storm that is threatening in the distance. I believe it smells like salt and water, but I question if the smell is real or just what I’ve been led to believe about the ocean. The others still have not noticed the storm coming in.

I lean back slowly, ever so slowly, until my butt smashes into the hot sand. An indentation emerges where my large frame has pushed heftily into the earth. The sand is only warm for an instant, as the water rushes up to wash the beach out of my hairy legs. It runs down into the hole my body has created and leaves my genitals and rear-end both wet and cool. I enjoy the touch as it feels intimate, a secret meeting between myself and the ocean. Behind me, I hear someone beginning to move.

I close my eyes and lean back, letting the sun begin to cook my porcelain skin. It has been awhile since my last endeavor into this setting and oh, how I missed it so. The heat from above turns my skin as red as an eighth grader sharing their feelings with a crush for the first time. The water rushes up and across my body again and I shudder with delight between the contrast of the hot dry air above and the cooling rush across the ground. Behind me, someone begins to cast a shadow over my head.

“Alright now, that’s enough Stewart,” I hear above me. I keep my eyes shut, ignoring the person harassing me. Behind them, I can hear everyone else leaving. I ignore them as well and listen as the waves crash against the shore and how, still in the distance, the crashing of thunder threatens those at sea.

“Stewart, let’s go!” A hairy arm as thick as a baseball bat reaches down and pulls at my hair. I let out a screech and kick out, which appears to have been the wrong decision. A whistle pierces the air as several more uniformed men run and begin grabbing at me as I continue to lash out.

My eyes open now and the room returns. There are showers everywhere, all turned off and men in towels staring at me. Above, fluorescent lights shine down on my wet and glistening body as a ceiling fan sends a chill into my bones. The uniformed guards are all angry, each trying to grab my naked frame and drag me from the floor. In the distance, outside of the barred windows, I can hear the crash of thunder. I look from my vantage point near the central drain in the room and see another flash of lightning. I smile as I feel the doctor with the round glasses tell me everything will be okay.

A slight sting in the side of my neck. I close my eyes. I am back at the beach.

Journal Entry 4: Official Prognosis

2 Aug

I escaped and woo-wee, heavens help me it was a rush. I’ve never felt as alive as I did last night, my gun sounding loudly into the night as the beautiful thudding sounds of bodies hitting the ground greeted my ears. The minions of darkness, or hell monsters as I call them, had charged forward while I tried to escape last evening. I fought valiantly but I had feared that my time was up. But that was when he appeared, a wealthy beneficiary from my blog. He knew the blight I had discovered and came driving in guns ablazing, friends hooting and hollering out of the back of his truck. They chased the monsters away with their high beams while pulling me up by my armpits into the bed. I have never felt more alive.

I write now from one of his spare rooms, with all of the assurances that him and his compadres will keep me safe. After their showing from last night, I have no reason to believe they will not uphold that promise. So now, as requested by my wealthy beneficiary, I have done extensive research this following evening into the threats to our existence. I was more than happy to oblige as well to his request for me to share my findings with you as well. Listed below is where I believe each of these 11 ancient abominations last attacked our beautiful planet.

I believe one of them was in control of Russia seizing Crimea.

Another had been in charge of the war in Syria. Rumors say that it is ending, and if that’s the case, it would uphold my theory that they’ve moved into the Russian or United States military.

The third I was wrong about. I no longer believe they are located in Flint, Michigan, but rather Yemen.

I believe the fourth I was wrong about as well, and he currently resides at the heart of this movement.

As for the others, well lets be clear, they have a strong foothold in our society. Pride, Greed, Anger, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, and Lust are all at the forefront of this battle for mankind. Just look at the history of the world. These seven horrible creatures have always ran with their 4 leaders, it is only now that we have begun to see their attack out in the light of day. Woe is me, one of the few that can see the atrocities they are responsible for in day to day life.

However, this will come to an end. I have a mission, and a powerful one sent from the very top. I will reveal the names of those I believe are lying about being human, because as I see it, sins and horsemen cannot be human. Not after they hefted their evil frames from the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs. Not when they have brought so much pain and suffering to our world.

I must end this post now, just thinking of these hideous creatures has led to my blood pressure rising and my old bones can no longer handle that like they used to. Hopefully my wealthy beneficiary will appreciate this post and let me stay for one more evening. He claims to sleep during the day and be awake through the night. Perhaps I shall take up that schedule as well, if only for my own safety.

Expect to hear from me tomorrow. I have a lot to share and I plan on needing you to help me.

Goodnight and sweet dreams.

Journal Entry 3: Who Am I?

1 Aug

I apologize for the delay of this post. I’m being hunted on this dreary night.

I have shed the damned laptop and am now beginning to create these posts on a smartphone. I am still shut off from the outside world, constantly on the run from the powers that work to strike me down. I can feel them, lurking over my shoulder, watching from the shadows. They run through every piece of data I touch, it feels as if they’re trying to read my very fingertips as I write. Maybe they can, maybe that technology has been embedded in our smartphones. I’m now wary of this piece of junk in my hands just thinking about it.

People keep asking who I am in the comments of these posts. Why is that of importance? Is there a reason to care for a loss soul like myself? I don’t believe there is. But who am I to judge them for caring or determining my own self worth? I’m just a man, no, much more than a man, trying to stop the evil forces at work. The 11 are still out there. The 11 must be stopped.

But the question remains: who am I? Should I share? I am on the run now and I’m sure these haunted figures know who I am, so maybe my loyal followers should as well. I could become a martyr if they catch me that way. I could be a man worthy of creating a crusade. I could die a legend. So be it, you ask, and so you shall receive.

I am a teacher. I am an educator. I am a writer. I’m an academic and a dreamer. I am a peace bringer and the end bringer. I am lost. I will never be found. I am a man, yet not a man. I am an unstoppable force. I am a sharpened weapon against the terrors. I am many things. I have been reduced to nothing. I am Joel.

There, I’ve exposed myself to them and the world. Now I must run again, This dampened road, slick from the rain, has the sounds of pitter patters echoing over my shoulder. I wish that it was just the sound of water slapping against the black top. I know it is not. I wish it was the sound of an animal scurrying across the road and up a tree, yet I know it is not. The lights behind me fade to black, which means I may have been found. Hopefully the weapon I’ve holstered can provide me the safety I need. I must run. I have no choice. If there is no post tomorrow then you must fear the worst for me.

Let’s hope I post tomorrow.

A message is hidden down below. But for you. Only you.

They are the horsemen. Their minions, the deadliest of our sins. They shall not win. They shall not prevail.

An Eye for an Eye

10 Jul

The fluorescent light above Daniel’s head was giving him a headache. It flittered between life and death as fast as the wings of a moth. He had complained numerous times to the elderly hispanic nurse to send someone in to fix it, but the request fell on deaf ears. Daniel thought about calling out to one of his men waiting outside the hospital room’s door to come fix it, but it didn’t seem worth the hassle.

Lying on the bed in front of him was his mother. Her grey hair was pulled out of the usual bun she kept it in and instead it was sprawled out on the pillow and across her forehead. Her eyes remained shut and unmoving as Daniel watched her chest slowly rise and fall with each breath. She had slipped into a coma a few weeks ago after having a stroke out in her garden. When it had happened Daniel was conducting business overseas and flew into a rage that his sister had not been at her home to take care of her. When Daniel heard the news he rushed back and made sure to punish his sister before arriving at the hospital. He hadn’t left his mother’s side yet.

The light continued to flicker and so Daniel buried his head into his hands to try and ignore it. He listened as the TV droned on about the crisis at the border and the separation of children from their mother’s. He sneered into his hands as the woman on the television droned on and he could feel his heart begin to race in anger at the fake news. He looked up at the television to make a mental note of what channel was leading a smear campaign on this policy so he could post about it later.

As he began to watch the TV, the door to the bedroom slid shut. It was a heavy door and almost unnoticeable to Daniel at first due to the guards along the bottom. It wasn’t until the door came to a rest and with a slight bang that Daniel turned and looked at it.

“Hey!” Which one of you thinks this is funny?” Daniel yelled out. He hefted his overweight frame out of the small wooden chair they had provided for him and went to the door. He yanked the handle down and shoved on it, but nothing happened. He tried again, throwing even more of his mass behind the door, but still nothing.

“Open the damn door you morons!” Daniel shouted as he began to slam his fists on the laminated wood. On the other side there was nothing but silence. His temper grew as he felt he was being ignored. Daniel was never ignored and now wasn’t going to be the beginning of it. He swung his hands harder and started screaming louder. Behind him, the television went to static and began to blare out through the quiet room. Daniel whipped around, sweat dripping down from his blonde hair and glared at the television.

“What is going on?” he asked exasperated to himself. He bumbled angrily over to the bedside table next to his mother and grabbed at the remote. Daniel pointed it at the television but instead of the static dying away at a push of a button, the fluorescent lights covered the room in a blood red glow. Daniel looked nervously around, sweat now freely flowing from his face, his suit sticking to his body. Across the room he saw that the blinds were still open. He doubted he would be able to open the windows but he needed to cry out for help. He rushed across the room, as fast as his body would allow him, only for the blinds to slam shut. He pulled on the string to make them raise back up, but they stayed firmly on the ledge, as if someone had glued them there.

“Dammit!” he screeched into the air. Behind him, his mother began to stir on the bed.

“Daniel,” his mother croaked. “Daniel please, come to me.” Daniel turned and for a moment forgot about the changes to the room. His mother was awake! His face lit up as he walked over to her. His mother’s eyes were open and looking in his direction and she had pressed herself up on her elbows to get a better view. As Daniel came up next to her, however, he saw that there was no life in her eyes. She stared blankly ahead and began speaking once again.

“Daniel.” she slowly croaked out. “Where are my children?”

“Mother,” Daniel replied. “I’m right here. Isabella, well Isabella is back in rehab. She relapsed when she was supposed to be with you. That’s how you ended up here in a coma.” Daniel stopped speaking as his eyes began to well up with tears. The doctor’s had told him his mother would most likely never recover due to her age but he knew they had been wrong. Here she was now, speaking to him as he reached out to gently move her hair out of her face. As he began to touch her though, a sickening smile spread and Daniel jumped back in horror as her head began to slowly twist all the way around her body. In the corner of the room, the television static stopped and a blonde news anchor sat quietly behind the desk. When his mother’s head had made a full three hundred and sixty degree turn, her face was gone and replaced with a young hispanic woman’s face instead. She began to scream.

“Where are my children!” Her eyes were full of fear and she was crying. The hispanic woman’s eyes full of life and staring directly at Daniel. His fear dissipated and instead began turning to a rage.

“Who the hell are you?” Daniel yelled at the woman. “Where is my mother. What disgusting trick is this? Do you know who I am?” But the woman did nothing but scream out for her children again as her head began to turn the same way Daniel’s mother’s head had before. Within a moment, another hispanic woman’s face appeared and began screaming out for her children as well. Behind Daniel, the female anchor started speaking.

“These women are mother’s just like yours Daniel,” she began. “But you are the cause of their pain. They suffer with not having the knowledge of where their children are. You did this to them.” Another face appears, this time of a younger hispanic woman with black hair. Her face is bruised and bloodied and instead of screaming for her children, she screams out as if the marks on her face were just occurring. “These next mother’s are ones looking for solace Daniel. They are the refugees looking for safety. They are the ones looking to our great country for aid. Yet you do nothing.” Daniel’s mother’s head now begin’s to twist faster and faster, showing more and more beaten and bruised women, some screaming for their children, some yelling out in pain.

“Stop this non-sense,” Daniel screams at the television. “I don’t care, okay? Has it ever seemed like I cared? Why would I care about these women, they mean nothing to me.” He stops to catch his breath and as he does his mother’s head stops spinning and it’s her face again. She calls out for Daniel and as he turns, he can tell that she can see him.

“Why are you like this Daniel,” she asks. “I didn’t raise you to be this way, or act this way. What if that person was me? Would you feel the same way?” As Daniel’s mother says this her face slowly bruises and begins to bleed from cuts that are forming. In the sheets by her legs, the fabric becomes a blackened mess. Daniel points at it angrily.

“What the hell is that?” he asks.

“Don’t you know Danny?” his mother responds. “Your loyal people have begun ignoring the women that were pregnant as well. Many are suffering from miscarriages while being detained and are being ignored. The thing you’re pointing at? Well that’s now your sister.”

“Liar!” Daniel responds. “This is all a nightmare or a trick, something to get me to change my policies.” Daniel turns back to the television. “Here’s the thing though you miserable blonde bimbo. I will do nothing because of you. I know my mother is alive and well, just like my sister. Pull all the tricks you want. I don’t care about those people and I refuse to change anything.”

On the television, the news anchor sighs and shakes her head before responding.

“If that’s how you feel Daniel, then so be it,” and as she finishes speaking the television and the room go dark.

Daniel slowly awakens to a long droning beep in the room. As he opens his eyes he sees his mother’s head lolled to the side, mouth hanging open. Around him nurses and doctors rush in to try and save Daniel’s mother’s life. His men step into the room and pull him away. In his pocket his cell phone begins to ring and it’s the rehab center that he sent his sister to. Daniel hands the phone off to one of his men and tells them to take care of it. He begins walking towards the hospital door.

“Sir,” the man who answered the phone says, “it’s your sister. She’s gone. Suicide they say.” Daniel nods his head and continues walking, He doesn’t say anything for a moment before turning back to the man who spoke.

“Set up funeral arrangements for both of them,” he says. “Don’t spare any expenses and try to hide what happened to my sister.” Daniel stares at the man until he rushes off. Next he turns to his right hand man, a thin, anxious looking fellow in glasses.

“I want you to get in touch with our people at the border and tell them to double their efforts,” Daniel says. “I just saw on the news that they think we’re getting soft and we can’t give that impression. We don’t want any of those people over here.” Daniel’s right hand man nods and begins dialing out a call. Daniel smiles to himself as they exit onto the roof towards an awaiting helicopter. Nobody gets the best of him.

The Old Man and the Millennial

26 Jun

He sat alone at the picnic table, thinking about his tasks for the day. He had worked his morning shift, grinding away at placing items back on the shelves and hiding from management. He was feeling time creep into his muscles and bones, forcing them to ache and moan with stress. He was ready to retire and enjoy his life once again.

The picnic table that the old man sat at was under one of his favorite trees. As a kid, him and his girlfriend had carved their initials into and surrounded it with a heart. He thought it was stupid and cheesy but she loved it and that’s what had mattered. Looking at the tree now, it’s tall branches keeping him cool on this spring day, he wished he could still see the carving. Instead the tree had healed and some other lovers had put their initials in, just like he had.

The old man gave a sigh as he looked down at the notebook in front of him. On the pages was a list of things his wife had given him to do. Take the dog to the vet. Go grocery shopping. Take the car to the shop. The list felt like it just kept going. He let out another sigh before reaching into his breast pocket and began pulling out a cigar. It was something his wife wanted him to stop doing in his older age, but he didn’t care. The whole reason he worked was so they could both have insurance and he’d be damned on what she told him. Nevertheless he still looked around anxiously, his thoughts betraying him that she may be lurking and watching.

The old man didn’t see his wife but he did see a younger gentleman walking in his direction. He looked to be in his mid twenties and was wearing a blue and white striped polo and khaki pants. His hair was cut into the weird side shave these millennial men decided were cool. The old man chuckled to himself, thinking about how the haircut was ridiculous, but then he remembered some of the styles he sported in the sixties and stopped laughing.

The millennial kept walking towards the old man and he began to feel uneasy. He didn’t know who this young man was or why he was approaching him. The old man puffed lightly on his cigar. He had heard something about how millennials hated any kind of smoking save for those “vape” things that he saw commercials for. Still though, the millennial approached the old pine picnic table and put his hands gently on it. His hair blowing in the spring breeze.

“What do you want?” The old man asked. He tried to sound mean and intimidating. This millennial kid hadn’t done anything wrong to him, but he did want to enjoy his peace and quiet before going to run the endless amount of errands his wife gave him.

“I was just hoping to sit and enjoy one of these with you,” the millennial said. The old man watched as the kid pulled a cigar out of his pocket along with a small thing of matches. “My family and girlfriend don’t like me smoking but I can’t help but enjoy these.” The old man smiled.

“I know what ya mean kid,” the old man replied. “I’ve been told to stop with this for years but it hasn’t killed me yet and it never killed my father either.” as he talked he watched in amusement as the millennial struggled with lighting one of his matches. “Here, give me those,” the old man said. As the kid blushes and hands them over, the old man can’t help but notice the similarities in their hands. Both are scarred and the nails are long.

“You a musician?” the old man asks.

“Guitar player,” the millennial replies with the now lit cigar in his mouth. “I was taught to finger pick but I found that keeping your nails long made it even easier to play.” The old man nods and thinks back on how he use to play. He used the same style and he remembers how everyone he’d play for would be impressed. They’d always ask how he could use his nails instead of a pick. He never had a good response to that.

The old man is pulled out of his thoughts as the millennial mentions the tree behind him. “I actually carved my initials into that oak behind you a few years ago,” he says. “I took my girlfriend on a picnic here and played a few songs for her. We had been dating for several months and she thought it was cute to act like the couples in the movies and do the same thing as them.” The old man says nothing to this, how could he? This kid, this millennial, was someone he wasn’t supposed to like. A liberal idiot that does stupid ass things that don’t make sense. And yet. Yet this kid reminded him of how he was when he was young.

At this point the millennial had fallen silent and him and the old man both sat in silence under the shade of the tree. The old man looked down again at his list and let out another sigh before taking a big puff on his cigar. He really should get going.

“Everything alright there?” the millennial asks.

“Yeah, just a damn laundry list of shit to do for the wife,” the old man replied. “It never ends. She takes off work whenever she likes and instead of going to run these errands, I end up doing it because I’m ‘out and about’ already.” The old man shakes his head, getting flustered again about running errands.

“I feel ya,” the millennial says, “my old lady has me doing the same thing today and I’ve still gotta work in the evening, it’s miserable!” The old man looks up at the kid again and sees him chuckling to himself while looking down at his phone. The old man notices that the cigar the millennial has is small and appears to be bought at a gas station. The old man smiles as an idea crosses his mind.

“What did we get ourselves into,” the old man says with a chuckle, drawing the attention of the kid back to him. “But anyhow, I need to get going, these errands won’t run themselves.”

“Yeah, I guess I better get to mine too,” the millennial says. “It’ll only be a matter of time before I get a call asking where the groceries are.” The old man watches as the kid shakes his head and gingerly puts out the cigar. He cringes as he sees him try to put half of it back into his pocket.

“Hey listen, how about you just throw that cigar away and I’ll give you a better one tomorrow if you come here again,” the old man says. He watches as the millennials eyes widen. “Don’t get crazy on me kid. I just think if you’re going to enjoy those things in secret, best do it with some company. Also, that brand you have sucks, let me get you one that’s actually good.”

“Really?” the millennial asks. “I mean, I’m fine with that if you are.”

“Of course,” the old man replies, “I wouldn’t have asked you if I didn’t mean it. Now get going before you get yourself into trouble. Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes enough times to know it’s always an uphill battle the later you are.” The old man watches as the millennial laughs and agrees. The kid waves and begins to walk away before running back and offering his hand to the old man.

“Sorry, I almost forgot, the name is Matt,” he said. “What time do you want for tomorrow?”

“Sam,” the old man said. “Does this same time work for you?”

“It definitely does,” Matt said. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning Sam.” And with that he ran off while Sam continued to sit quietly under the tree at his picnic table. As he sat smoking his cigar, Sam calmly thought about what him and his new friend would talk about tomorrow.