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Archive for the ‘short story’ Category

Nothing

 

The sun beat down unforgiving on the frozen landscape. Nothing moved nothing breathed it was as if the world was holding its breath, waiting for something spectacular. Small Brown Eyes opened on this world of ice and silence, they opened and blinked, and then they closed. The Small Brown Eyes closed on the world and the world returned itself to void, to nothingness. It was a silent, gentle transition, no cataclysm just…

 

Nothing

 

Two children played in a sandbox building worlds of imagination and sand they had wars and adventures; they brought empires too their knees; turned knaves into heroes and always won the girls. Two ordinary boys on an ordinary day doing ordinary boy things. Two Brown Eyes blinked, Two Brown Eyes closed and Two Ordinary Boys disappeared into… well,

 

Nothing

 

Two people, one bed. The sex was loud messy and every teenagers wet dream. She was gorgeous passionate, he was masculine strong; both virile. She arched her back and cried out in her release her long black hair falling picture perfect about her shoulders and breasts. Wide Brown Eyes watched. Wide Brown Eyes blinked and reluctantly closed and The Two Lovers dimmed and turned to mist to…

 

Nothing

 

Two Brown Eyes looked out on a world that was normal, predictable, boring and real. Two Brown Eyes closed and the world disappeared, and reappeared extraordinary and unbelievable. The world unrolled, folded itself, rearranged and remade itself. Two Brown Eyes watched and orchestrated. Two Brown Eyes, blinked and closed and returned to the ordinary, the boring. The World unrolled, rearranged, remade and disappeared into…

 

Nothing

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Unfocused and Unbound, staring, not seeing.

There is a distant space that grabs at my attention, pulling my sight towards it; through my Eyes my Soul flows. Out, flying Out to meet my vision’s gravity, pulled out of Here and Now drawn to invisibility.
My Eyes are magnetisized. Seeing; traveling so far out that I return through the back of my head. Always it is quicker to retrace the light years than pass through my mind. Inside is more distance than all of Outerspace, Innerspace is far more of a vacuum. So much empty area; floating, gently colliding and rebounding.
A dark maze with but one end: down the rabbit hole to the fields by the river Illeism to the mountains against the stars, the land of frost and forest to the tip top where the still lake is a silent mirror. Up here there is no wind, up here the only sound is the sound you bring with you. Shout and the lake shatters the stars and you fall up to meet the broken pieces of the sky to fall back again to a plain surrounded by cliff walls. You awake to where you were all along, the Here and Now, only you have been absent, on a journey light years away to the edge of the universe where it bends back on itself and you ended up lost in your own mind and only just now retraced your steps.

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The rag doll looked at me with her mismatched eyes, the odd shaped buttons catching the light from the window.
“Please.” She whispered.
Just the one word. I could see the Rippers had been at her, why didn’t matter to me. I was a seam-stitcher, a seam-master, a seamstress; I didn’t care why her stuffing was falling out, just whether or not she could pay.
“Please.” Again the pleading hand with the voice so full of regret, sorrow.
“No! No money, no sewing!” I fairly shouted at her. Her eyes were getting to me. How could two lifeless pieces of plastic hold so much emotion, so much… well, life?

“Listen, I know your in a bad way but think about what I have to put up with. I have my licence to worry about don’t you know and the King don’t make it easy on my kind these days what with the new rules on dolls and all. I just bought this new machine and I need to be able to pay for that too you know.”

I could tell I wasn’t getting through to her, she didn’t understand. How could she, half her brain was on my kitchen floor, the rest falling out in great fluffy lumps.

“Please…” Softer this time.

I couldn’t look away. Her eyes were following me around the room, saying what her mouth no longer could.

“Please. Please. Please!”

It was enough to drive me mad. Mad! I was pacing in front of her now, back and forth her eyes tracked me.

“I can’t, I just can’t! Do you know what will happen if I get caught? they’ll take my licence, my livelihood will be gone.” The buttons didn’t blink. “What? How dare you! They wont kill all of you. The King’s Rippers only go after the ones that haven’t registered. I’ll still have customers. You know, this wouldn’t have happened if you had just been there at registration day like all the rest.” The eyes looked faintly recriminating. “Well it’s true. I should just turn you in. Yes thats it, thats what I’ll do. Yes”

I couldn’t move, either to help or to make the call that would bring the Rippers. She died then, right there in my kitchen. Here eyes never left me. When they came to take her I watched, as they lifted her tattered body I saw something, it was right there the whole time, embroidered to the inside of her left arm. 2269.

It was her registration number.

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Here is a desert, desolate and bright, empty of sound of wind of anything but dirt, dust and this conversation:

“Whew. Hot Day.” He remarked as he wiped the dust from his brow.

Morgan took the pipe from his mouth, “Ayuh. Just like the last day and the day before that and day before that one. This whole damn time’s been one long hot day.” And with that pronouncement he lit his pipe and said no more.

They continued to work in silence, nothing but the sound of their shovels biting into the ground. Behind them lay the finished product of their work, acres of it, miles of it. The whole damn planet pocked with their holes.

The same desert, some time later:

“Not far now, I can see the coast today. Couldn’t see that yesterday.” He said, taking a short break, leaning on his shovel; wiping his face with a kerchief.

“Ayuh, you can smell the salt in the air.” Morgan lit a match on the seat of his pants. “Not much farther now. What do you suppose the Power-That-Be will have for us after this?” Morgan asked as he busily puffed away.

“Dunno. What did we do before this? Seems we’ve been here for centuries, digging. Was there anything before this?” He asked, sinking his shovel in the ground throwing a spadeful of dirt next to his 3’X7’X77” hole.

Morgan shrugged his shoulders, “There must have been something before this but it’s been so damn long I’ve forgotten.”

The coast, some time latter:

“We’re nearly there.” He remarked, “I’d say about 5 more graves till we hit the beach”

“Ayuh. Judging from where the others stop I’d say that’s about right.”

“How many times do you think we’ve seen this beach? It’s obvious we’ve been here before. How many times?” He whispered, wiping his face with his dirty hands.

Morgan tapped his pipe against a rock then began to refill it. “Hard to say, it’s been so long I barely remember the other shore.” He said, hooking a thumb over his shoulder.

“Five to go and then what?” He asked, gazing at the sea.

“Dunno. I’m sure the Powers will have something lined up.” Morgan answered, looking back at the landscape of their handy-work.

The same coast, sometime later:

“How long’s it been?” He asked after swimming ashore, “Days? Weeks? Years? Do you think They’ve forgotten us?”

Morgan sat down on the beach to consider before answering. “Hard to tell. There’s no no night here, the sun never moves. We only lie in our graves, we never sleep. As for them, dunno”

Sometime later:

“What do you suppose we should do now?” He asked, his voice sleepy after laying on the beach for so long.

“Well I’ve been thinking about that for a while now. Seems to me there’s not much we can do. We’ve got no one to bury; the Powers have forgotten us. We can’t bury ourselves or each other. We can’t lay around on the beach the whole while, there’s no sense in it. So, that leaves us with only one choice.”

He had been thinking about it himself and had come to the same conclusion, “Fill in the graves.” He said, reaching for a spade.

Morgan smiled and picked up his pipe, chuckled as he scratched a match to life.

“Ayuh.” He said.

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My father was a writer. He wrote once.

He created a world where, even now, people live and breath, love and laugh and die. He created the entire universe, all that would sustain life in his world, which, even now I don’t know the name of. Then he stopped, he quit. He put the world away, the fascinating cascade of characters and their stories. All locked up in a drawer now, put away in a filing cabinet along with his tax returns and mortgage papers.

I think about  that world every once in a while. I wonder if Loden or the Tanklen are still around, if they are angry at being forgotten, being shelved, filed away. I still don’t know what happened to the children, nobody does, not even Loden and he’s the one who most needs to know. That great mystery lies hidden behind my birth certificate and the title for the jeep. I asked my father once why he stopped. He  said he felt there was no merit in it; he felt that it wasn’t unique enough or that there were plenty of other stories out there.

I wonder how Loden feels about that; his bones were cast in gold and nobody knows why. Well my Dad does, but he’s keeping it to himself.

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In a small and smokey place, full to the walls with eager ears, eager to hear the tale of the old drunk. Every week he did this, predictably, after his pay was cut. Every week we would come to hear his fantastic tales, tales of far-off and of down-‘neath and up-‘bove of near and dear and over the hill… Over the mountain;

“… Cats that talk
Dogs that walk
Hand in paw with their neighbors.
Birds that sing
As they wing
Of the hour when they were favored.

Streets of blue
and cracked cobble-stone
Children who have wondered far from home.

They gasp and gaze
At wondrous sights
They are gobbled up
by each and every new delight.

The city heaves and sighs
And grumbles and bursts
And in the end it spits up the little twerps.

New made men and women
Of cracked and blackened stone
Clockwork monstrosities for whom
The city is their home.

And the cats and the dogs
And the birds and the pets
All make room for these newest little pests.

In the city over the hill
(It’s lying in a rill.)
On the other side of the mountain
In the town by the river
(It’s only getting bigger.)
In the place that is forgotten.”

The bar is quiet. Many remember others misfortunes, remember Mary or Marta’s missing children, remember their own. The atmosphere becomes cold, silent but for one voice, the voice that stilled and chilled us all,
“Bring me another whisky.”

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Dust Town

Towels flapping on the line in my Dry Dust Town.
Seen from the air a criss-cross of 6 roads. Perfectly spaced squares.

Porch sitting, my favorite activity here in my Dust Town. I can watch the towels flapping, lazily beating each other and themselves; can see the direction of the wind. The dog lays and pants at my feet, thirsty. The only thing cold in this Hot Dust Town is my beer, my last beer. The store shut down today. Tod, the owner, died. Latest victim of our unique disease, our Dust Disease. The mine gave us all the day off because of it; raise my glass in memory of Tod, silent thanks for the day off; Good soul. Dog grunts and rolls over, still thirsty.
Sitting from my porch, as I do, I can see the distant mountains. The highest, Skyline Ridge and her sisters make up the Razor Back Range. The only place in the world where Dust is mined. I can see those too, the mines. Lights are blinking there, at the foothills, sunset will be soon.
The wind shifts my towels. I sigh, stand up. I can see it all ready, Dark Dust cloud headed for our little Dust Town. Tell the dog it’s time to head in. She rolls to her feet and wuffles; look of reproach from sleep-red eyes. Sorry girl, I mutter. Time to bring the wash in, don’t want to wash it again, don’t have the water anyway. Close the shutters and vent, only protection from the Damn Dust; makes it hot as hell. Tell the dog its time for bed, gotta get up early, have a whole day to make up for. She grunts herself down on her spot at the end of the bed. Roll into mine, sigh; third day in a row I’ve missed the Sunset.

Maybe tomorrow?

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