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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Short Story Contest 111: Alias

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Mar 5, 2012.

    Short Story Contest 111
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Alias"

    This contest is open to all members, newbies and the established alike. Please post your entries as replies to this post. At the deadline I will collate all entries and put them forward for voting in a separate thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. Unfortunately, there is no prize but pride on offer for this contest. As always, the winner may also PM/VM me to request the theme of a subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Theme: "Alias" (courtesy of SSC107 winner mootz). Any interpretation is valid. Entries do not have to follow the theme explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.
    Wordlimit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Monday 19th March 2012 10.00 am (UK local)

    There is a 10% word-limit leniency at both ends of the scale. Please try to stick within the limit. As below, any piece outside of the suggested limit may not be entered into the voting.

    There is a maximum of 25 entries to any contest. If there are more than 25 entries to any one contest I will decide which are entered into voting based on adherence to the suggested word limit and relevance to the theme, not on a first-come-first served basis.

    The next contest will be themed "Attic Treasure" (courtesy of member Tessie), and the one after that "Insanity" (Bran). Be free to prepare an entry for either of these contests in advance, but do not submit an entry to these contests until instructed to do so. Please note that sadly no prize other than pride is offered for these contests too.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seemingly outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece manner to decide its legitamacy for the contest.

    Submissions may not have been previously posted on this site, nor may they be posted for review until voting has closed. Only one entry per contest per contestant is permissable.

    Please try to refrain from itallicising, bolding, colouring or indenting any text to help avoid disappointment. These stylistics do not reproduce when I copy-paste them into the voting thread. You may use visible noparse BB code to preserve style if you wish by placing [ noparse ] and [ /noparse ] (without the spaces) around the entire text.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please leave me a visitor message or PM me. Please do not clog up this, or any other thread, with your questions.

    Please note that only current members are eligible to win.

    Thanks and good luck.
  2. mootz

    mootz Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Likes Received:
    That Other Woman (1461)

    She was on her side lying in her bed, her hands clasped together and tucked tightly between her thighs, eyes spread wide open as if she was in a state of constant surprise.

    The buzz of her alarm clock is familiar but not comforting. In fact, it's grating and intrusive, entering the mind like a unwieldy saw cutting through ply-wood. The job is done, but it's always jagged and never clean.

    Slowly her right arm wiggles from underneath her and shifts to take on the brunt of her weight as it struggles to push her body up. After a brief moment, she finds herself sitting upright on her bed, the sheets and covers still neat and tucked-in beneath her. Her legs dangle from the bed, though her toes could touch the floor if she stretched them, and she sits staring forward at the wall opposite her.

    Her dresser—a beautiful, brown-red, mahogany masterpiece that was passed on from her dear, sweet grandmother—sits opposite her. The top left drawer is open, a pair of undergarments hang out just slightly over the edge. They're trimmed with pink and white lace, a design she thought was both too special and cute for last night. Instead, she chose to wear a black pair that she really liked. Unfortunately, she left those behind.

    Her eyes start to rise, but she fights the action. On her dresser, alongside brushes, cosmetic things and a few work items is her mid-length mirror. She can already taste the salty and bitter mix of bleeding mascara on the edges of her mouth. It tastes almost like glue or adhesive. It's too distinct a taste to just forget, it will rest along side the rest of her memories. The five senses are a complex thing, sensory memory will haunt her for a long time and she knows it.

    For instance, she'll never forget how his bare mid-drift swelled with the effects of bad habits. Stretch marks streaked across his dark complexion like beer-induced lighting strikes across a dark, night sky. His man-boobs rivaled her own natural breast as he hung over her for those few minutes. The Axe deodorant he bathed in didn't mask the sweaty, pungent musk that his body expelled almost like the self defense mechanism of white-striped, black skunks, but rather, seemed to intertwine with it in a new and disgusting odor all his own. The feeling of him was unpleasant—he wasn't large nor impossible to handle—but he was awkward and uncompromising. Not, that she would say anything one way or the other.

    If she had, it would have been like she was there, and that wasn't her. It was someone else. Someone kind enough to stuff her night's salary into her bra and not keep it for herself. She was thankful for the kindness of that woman, whoever she was. It was strange, she was never kind to women of the night, but that one, whoever she was, was a kind woman.

    That woman wasn't a home wrecker nor a slut, like most whores. She didn't do it for the sense of danger or some sick fantasy. It wasn't a result of some prior abuse or mishandling on some aggressive males' part. It was just something that whore did. That whore, not her.

    Her feet stretched out for the ground, her hands finally pulling away from her lap. She walked sheepishly through her bed room, afraid to touch anything or acknowledge she was even there. Careful not to look into a mirror of any size.

    Somehow, she found her linen closet, despite her staring down almost exclusively at her black high heels as she moved through her apartment. She grabbed a towel of a dark color, a brown that was near burgundy and fuzzy with the thick wool that it was made from. Her hands gripped tightly on the towel, twisting it as if to wring it dry, in her grasp. Subtle signs of veins bulge on the backs of her hands.

    She knew she would have to have a glimpse of that woman in her bathroom. Still, she managed to turn on the facet—after taking a big, deep breath—without seeing herself. She exhaled and looked into the mirror.

    Her bright, apple-red lipstick was smudged and smeared on her lips, carrying onto the skin that surrounded them in a few spots. She had made a point to insist on no kissing—or, the woman last night did. But the man, having satisfied his most basic need, and having her pinned, felt a urge or sense of personal strength and defiance. He held her down while his sweaty face came into contact with hers and his lips and tongue forced a brief interaction with her own.

    Black streaked across her face, though not coming straight down towards her toes, but turning to the right, from when she cried on her side on top of her bed after having done so standing. Some streaks still made it's way to her mouth, as it seemed to blur her light, pale complexion. Her face was a blank canvas to some ill-controlled black pen—there was no beauty in it.

    Still, she forced a smile while the water heated up and her towel absorbed the warm, cleaning fluid. She brought up the wool against her face, gently brushing aside the memories, the evidence and the ruined make-up.

    When her face was clean, she undressed in a near tear of speed that left her as bare as the day she was born. She jumped into the shower of her bathroom and let warm water pour down her without care or worry. She felt cold underneath it, so she turned up the heat. Yet, as the temperature rose and her body started to jump and squirm against the heat, she still couldn't shake the coldness she felt.

    She jumped back in her shower when the temperature started to actually burn and scald, nearly falling as she lost her balance in the wet tub. Steam filled the room rapidly and sweat poured down her face, and yet, her arms were wrapped across her chest hugging her cold body. More tears rolled down her face, though they weren't accented by black mascara, but rather masked in the steamy room.

    It took her a moment, but she came to her senses and angled her foot around the stream of hot liquid to nudge the handle of the shower into a lower temperature. The water slowly cooled down but she didn't wait for it to fall all the way when she submerged the rest of her body underneath it to fully shut off the water. It was still pretty warm, but not scalding. Though, she had already wasted too much time, either way.

    She wrapped herself in a towel before jumping out the tub. Her black dress, bra and heels were scooped up from the floor so that no one else would have to see them, and carried with her. She made a quick stop in the kitchen to pre-heat the oven before running back to her room.

    Inside her room she dried herself in haste, forgetting her hair, or rather neglecting a thorough process of drying it. She put on her pajamas and house slippers and then walked nervously into the hallway.

    Stopping in front of the other bed room door of the apartment, she paused. She took another deep breath and exhaled, but it wasn't enough. It just reminded her of the woman she saw when she last did so, the woman in the mirror. It reminded her of the things that woman did.

    She closed her eyes, counted to ten, brought a big smile to her face and finally knocked on the door.

    “Time for school, little guy,” she said, cheerfully. Her voice was bright, exuberant and promising. It was full of hope, like a rainbow on a cloudy day. There was no sadness or pain. After all, why should there be when all that happened had happened to someone else.

    She opened the door to his room. Her ten-year old son crawled out of bed with a smile on his face and happiness peering through his crusty bed time eyes. He rubbed his eyes clean with the back of his hands as she walked into his room and sat at the edge of his bed.

    “Hurry up and shower, baby,” she said. “Mommy didn't sleep well so she took extra long getting up and she doesn't want to be late for work.”

    “Did you get the money for the field trip?” he asked, innocently.

    “Yes,” she said, her voice brimming with pride. Pride not for the actions of that woman that night, but for the happiness provided to her son.
  3. Tashanel

    Tashanel Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Surabaya, Indonesia
    Prince Charming (1433)

    This is my second year at school. Until now, I still do not have a lover. That doesn't mean I'm not interested in any guys here. There are hundreds men in this school. But the only one that caught my attention, he was known as Prince Charming.

    At first, I thought this is just a myth. No one ever really knew him. Even the physical characteristics is still no clarity among my friends. Is he very muscular, with a perfect face or overall cool? I hope not the opposite.

    The second most important thing is hows he acts with women. Everyone agrees that if he had been very kind to women. I write a lot about how the category of a man should behave. He must be gentle but firm. He should be able to solve my problem. He must be a popular person. Are there people like that?

    Just thinking about it, makes my heart beat. I even imagined how he talk. Not so important how the way he talked, but I hope he has a voice like Antonio Banderas. So manly and seductive.

    Until now, I've never seen him at all. If he's as popular as it is, he must have been followed by many women. There are probably hundreds of women who wished to become his lover. Am I worthy enough with someone like that? Maybe he is knew me. Maybe he had been watching me because we are classmates. But whenever I looked carefully, nothing match my criteria. It is impossible he is around me.

    "What are you doing Sophia?" Someone greets me from behind.

    Instantly I was nervous and tried to cover all of my writing. I'm too old to write a diary, but wild thoughts about the prince charming make my hands out of control. The man who stretched his head, over my shoulder.

    "None of your business. are lunchtime is over? "I'm asking while my sweats cover my face

    "I think there is still a time. You're too busy to with that. Then, let's go to the cafeteria! " He replied.

    Honestly, he's right. I was too busy with my imagination how this charming prince look like. I feel very hungry when my imagination possessed me. This person in a right time to offered to go along to the cafetaria. I stood from my seat, while taking along my doodle about prince charming. And then, immediately left the class with him.

    I'd been aware of a lot of people watching. Maybe they thought I was weird to go with him. Or maybe, they are already know what I wrote. Honestly, this feeling keep coming even when I'm on my own or back then when I first entered this school. Did my makeup too flashy for kids this age? Every day before leaving for school, I'm looking into mirror for make sure of it.When I was choosing what to wear, I take several hours. However, they still continue to gaze upon me.

    Arriving in the cafeteria, we choose the foods as ussual and sits on our regular seat. Looked special and strangely no one ever sat on our seats. Initially, I felt alienated. But two years later, I can handle it. I always take the chair directly facing the exit door of the cafeteria. It makes me feel safe. I thought if I feel not comfortable, I just can run out of the way.

    "So ..." said someone in front of me. "You still thinking that prince charming?"

    "Once again, is none of your business. Wait! Have you noticed a lot of people watching us? "I said while spooning my favourite fried rice.

    "It's always like that. Just ignore them. So, how's your seek? "He asked again. I could not hold my thoughts about the prince charming alone. I always give up when he's tried to find out about me.

    "Well, you know me, right Dion? I kept thinking about how he looked, how he behaves, how he speaks. But none knew him even when I tried to find on my own, none fit the criteria. I almost gave up, "I sighed.

    "Indeed, you'd better give up," he replied lightly.

    "Soon we are facing third year, and I still doesn't have a boyfriend. What should I do? "I asked.

    "Ever Tried real life? Your problem is you're too busy to describe. Look at you! Do not you ever realize why people looked after you? "Dion directly wounded me. I hope I really does not have bad taste in fashion.

    I turned right, right into a large glass directly to the school garden. I pay attention to my reflection. Is it really I looked very bad? I was nervous, because today I'm using a different shoe than usual. Sense of shame directly over me. My face blushed up. Reflected perfectly on the glass. Today I feel looks really bad.

    "You're perfect! Incredibly beautiful! Look at your hair, your eyes, your smile. Is perfect! Every guys, eager to be your lover. You should easily get a lover! "Said Dion. I can not believe what he said. I watched aroud, eyes was still on me. Even, some of them pretended not to see me when I returned their stare.

    "You must be joking."

    "I'm not joking. You even got a nickname in school, as a queen of school. What you need to do, just let your imagination go about this charming prince. "

    "I can't do that," I said softly notice my plate was half clean.

    "You never tried it. Half of guys in this school, who really liked you, think you are too perfect for them. I have a request for you. Would you approve it? "

    "What is it?" I asked, surprised. I hope he did not ask me to go home and change my shoes.

    "I want you to forget prince charming," begged Dion. My face flushed with anger. I write it all before my first year, will be worthless. I stared deeply into his eyes, check if there is sincerity in her eyes. Dion looks so dazed when I looked at him. Then I said,

    "Why should I?"

    "Because ... because I do not want you to be like this. I can not stop thinking about you until now. I care about you. I want to be your first love," Dion said haltingly.

    I'm leaning into my seat. I could see he really meant it. But this is the first time someone declares his love to me. Although we are too close, but this time my heart was pounding so. Is this love? I'm still a beginner to define love.

    Then, run off our memories in my head. When we were together to the amusement park to spend the time, when we watch a movie for a first time and I fell asleep in half the story. Could be called a date?

    The best of our memories, he always cheer me up. When I sad even when I was hospitalized. He is the only one who care about me. He's the best guy that I remember in my life.

    We fell silent for a long time. I am wary of what to say. On the other side the memories were suddenly rush in my head. Fill my mind, too wild but beautiful. My heart continued to race. Then suddenly, memories replaced to his figure. Just his figure. Then someone whispered in my heart, do not lose him.

    "I may not near to your prince charming criteria. But I can not lie to my heart. I fell in love with you. I don't want to lose you, "said Dion, which this time can controled his words. My question is, is he just read my heart? How could we feeled in same way. Suddenly I remembered my prince charming figure. But how hard i tried, now there is only a figure of Dion. What if, this prince charming is Dion? Finally I was able to control myself. He needs to know how I feel and my decision.

    "I ... I think I need time to think about it," I replied. I have to convinced myself that my own imagination is actually Dion. However, he's certainly right that I should be able to face reality. I realized, I was thinking too much about what should I do and what should not. The man in front of me, pulling me from the pit of my own imagination. Instantly I realized, I was not able to recall parts of the charming prince of my imagination. But I'm happy. I am very happy and smile for him.
  4. Erato

    Erato Contributing Member

    Feb 23, 2012
    Likes Received:
    A place called home
    (At least one person is going to think to him/herself, "Oh boy, more purple prose." Sorry. I happen to like what you call purple prose.)

    [1231 words excluding title]

    Fatima was a short woman, though an especially pretty one, not glamorous, but delicate and somehow very compelling. She was quiet; she attended the meetings, she did her part, but one got the impression that there was much more to her than was easily seen. For me, at least, she held the awesome fascination of the unknown. Others found her an annoyance and complained, or held grudges and slandered, or envied her attractiveness with a jealous disdain. Others found her dull and ignored her completely.
    "Her part" in the meetings consisted mainly of taking the minutes of the meetings, chartering the yacht for the yearly fundraiser cruise, and voting for the right people at the right times; or, as it was frequently whispered, noting, voting, and boating.
    These duties, so frequently sniggered about, were very real. I would watch as Fatima scribbled frantically in shorthand to keep up with the club's chatter, not very easy. And as for the yacht - no one could ever agree on what sort of yacht, what marina, where to cruise, how many would be there. There were often last-minute cancellations because some yacht from that line had failed or been connected with food poisoning, but another member wouldn't cruise anywhere else - a terrible job. And voting was everyone's dilemma. Everyone knew everyone else. To vote one way would estrange you from half the members. To vote the other way would lose you powerful friends. Fatima was an expert in weaving her way through the tangle; making no close friends, she voted for the winning side of an argument. She lost no favor and gained only the good wishes and gratitude of the victorious. So Fatima's skills were not to be underestimated.
    It was all women in the club. By a constutitional technitcality it was also open to male members, but it had become so associated with the fair sex that no man would degrade himself so much as to join; few would have joined a non-profit charity group anyway.
    I used to follow Fatima's every move. I worshipped her from a distance; not with the fervour of a homosexual passion, but with the idea that this girl was godly, divine; she was mysterious and intriguing; she was dark and frightening and perfect. My fancies took on marvelous dimensions. There was no limit to Fatima. Her quiet voice, her modest dress, her smooth face and dark eyes, all bespoke a deep hidden person who was rarely revealed. Surely, I thought, this is the epitome of human evolution.
    But I was myself rather shy and did not approach her for a friend; and she seemed to take little notice of me, for within the club my only concern was to vote. I was fairly recently joined and held no position. I was in many ways unremarkable.
    I noticed, then, when Fatima was late one Friday night in July. I suposed that there might be some traffic preventing her from coming; but she was a full hour late, and the traffic was never bad in this part of the city.
    "Where is our stenographer?" asked the president, peering into the room. She was not a popular president, and disliked Fatima, who had voted against her - a rare slip.
    The audience shrugged collectively.
    "Well," said the president, "we shall have to make do without her. Everyone will take notes separately!"
    There was a general complaint. "But I can't write shorthand," said one woman, and "I don't have a pen," said another.
    "I've got a pen you can use," I said, fishing one out of my bag.
    "Pass around the paper," said the president. "Now, if someone misses something, someone else will be sure to get it."
    There was more grumbling. "Why should we be punished for her absence?" muttered one woman.
    "Now!" said the president. "Let's get started, are there any announcements? No? Then let us discuss this year's cruise."
    When Fatima finally arrived, looking slightly distressed, which I attributed to her tardiness, she was met with varying degrees of hostility, from those who ignored her arrival to those who turned away their faces to those who looked at her with fearsome hatred. I met her eyes and smiled.
    But she did not smile back. She went straight for her pads of paper and ballpoint pens and picked up writing in the middle of the speaker's sentence.
    I determined then to find out more about Fatima. When she left after the meeting, struggling to carry all the notes of all the members which had been loaded onto her for sorting, some more legible than others, I followed her, determined to put aside my shyness.
    "Would you like some help with all that? I'd be happy to sort through with you."
    "Oh, no, thank you," said Fatima quickly, glancing down, "I couldn't ask it of you - I'll be fine."
    "I-if you're absolutely sure," I stammered. "That's a pretty daunting stack."
    "No, really - I wouldn't ask it of you."
    I caved, perhaps too quickly, and only held the door for her as she left. The night air was cool. "You have a car, right?"
    "No," said Fatima cheerfully, "I'll be getting a ride." We said our goodnights; Fatima walked down the street quickly, ahead of me, and turned a corner. Worshipper that I was, I cut through the block between the buildings and watched her stand, alone, on the sidewalk. A car drew up and parked, which surprised me, as I understood she was being driven, and Fatima put her papers in the seat. A man got out of the driver's seat; Fatima approached him and they embraced.
    "I was an hour late," she said sternly when they broke apart, "which is why all the paper - we must never do that again!"
    The man looked slightly ashamed.
    "When my husband finds out we'll both be dead and you know it!"
    "Tahira," said the man, as if trying to calm her. Was this a name? Which was real? "We'll be fine, don't worry about it, we're plenty careful enough. I don't even know your real name."
    I drew away into the space between the buidlings, disturbed, with the sense that I wasn't supposed to be seeing this, that it was private. I shouldn't be here. I should go.
    "No!" said Fatima, or Tahira, with such violence that I looked back, startled. "We aren't careful enough. I'm not sure he doesn't already know!"
    "He will know soon if you'll keep yelling about it!" said the man.
    "Please, don't be angry." Fatima's voice turned penitent. "I'm sorry. We'll be more careful, all right?"
    There was a sound like a kiss.
    The car doors opened and shut; the engine started. I peeked out of my hiding place and watched them drive off. When I stepped out of my hiding place I was shivering and sweaty, my legs shaky, my pulse racing with the nervousness of one who has spied.
    Monday the club met again; I arrived shortly before Fatima and took my seat. When she arrived I could not meet her eyes.
    If Fatima ever noticed the change in my behavior toward her, she never showed it. I never told anyone of what I had seen that night. I was shaken, disillusioned; my goddess was an adulterous woman; I reacted in my shock with hostility, and I never worshipped another.
  5. Erato

    Erato Contributing Member

    Feb 23, 2012
    Likes Received:
    A place called home
  6. live2write

    live2write Contributing Member

    Feb 7, 2012
    Likes Received:

    Six o'clock in the afternoon and she waits for her husband to come home from a long day at work. The sun had already set and the street lights illuminate the suburban streets outside of the busy city. The clouds were low and it had already begun to pour with rain dropping like bullets. The window is open in front of her and her cigarette slowly burns to the end.

    One minute past six and no sign of her husband, not even a phone call. The house was dark and silent except for the cracking and burning of the last of the cigarette before she puts it out.

    Two minutes past six and her husband pulls up to the driveway. As he exits she notices a duffle bag knowing it does not belong to him. As he enters the house she hears him downstairs walking through the house and opening the closet door. She walks downstairs to greet her husband acting as if she does not know about the time between him coming home and entering the house.

    "I missed you Olivia," he says wrapping his dirty arms around her and kisses her on the lips. "Smells good! What is for dinner?"

    "Eggplant parmesan with a side salad." She says smiling proud.

    "My favorite! Let me clean up and I will be in the kitchen in a few moments." He says before walking upstairs dragging dirt on the carpet.

    Olivia could hear her husband upstairs undressing and cleaning himself up in the shower. Silently she opens the closet door curious about the duffle bag sitting in the darkest corner of the closet. She realizes she only has five minutes to investigate and without hesitation pulls the bag out of the closet and quickly opens the bag.

    Her eyes opened as she finds a loaded firearm resting on a white towel. Holding in her fear she takes a look what is underneath. a manila envelope. Already opened she grabs it. It is already too late her husband is out of the shower. She zips the bag closed and carefully puts it back to where it was originally placed. With the manila envelope in her hand she walks into the kitchen to place it in the last place her husband would look; in the freezer under the frozen packages of vegetables.

    The evening goes as any ordinary weekday evening. She distributes the food into two separate plates onto the kitchen table, along with napkins, utensils and two glasses of water. Both sat at the table indulging in their evening meal, savoring the flavor of a home cooked meal.

    "How was your day sweetheart?" He asks after sipping a glass of water.

    "The usual." She takes a sip of her water, "Cleaned the house, watched the history channel and worked in my office."

    "Are you sure?" He questions her trying to find another reason for her to leave him.

    "Yes I am sure. What else do you think I do on a daily basis." She chuckles.

    After both finish their meals the husband helps her clean up the kitchen. He always does the dishes as she handles wrapping the food and placing it into the refrigerator.

    In the middle of the evening Olivia and her husband were resting in their full size bed. At exactly 1:30 in the morning Olivia woke up curious about the manila envelope. As she got up her husband did not move, he was sound asleep. Downstairs in the kitchen she turned on the lights and opened the freezer. The envelope was cold and dry with a cool steam flowing out of the slot.

    She pours the contents out of the envelope astonish to the amount of information her husband has about her. There were over one hundred of photos of her from high school up until the beginning of her marriage. There were things that he could not know or find out. Too many memories of her past life unraveled in front of her that were promised would be behind her.

    Olivia's fears released when he found her old identification card with her real identity: Lea Morgan. He should have not found out and should have trusted her. There is only one thing she can do to fix the problem. Eliminate the enemy.

    In the closet she grabbed the loaded firearm and the white towel. Stealthily she walked upstairs into the bedroom. She stands on top of the mattress near the footboard of the bed staring down at her husband. All the love and meaning of the relationship disappeared. The remorse of losing him was not worth the damage he can cause to her life.

    She holds up the gun and says her last words, "You're an idiot."

    With a bang blood shot across the room hitting the bed, her husband and the contents of the room around her. Her husband woke up screaming in fear.

    Olivia collapsed into the bed motionless with the gun still in her hand. Blood poured onto the covers soaking the mattress. Her husband got up and tried to revive her but it was too late.

    Two o'clock in the morning and black trucks with no lights parked in front of their home. A group of men walked into the house and upstairs into the bedroom. A mysterious man wearing a black suit stepped into the darkness of the bedroom observing the crime scene.

    "You have to help my wife! She shot herself! Is there anything you can do." The husband yelled at the men.

    The man stepped out of the darkness and drew his firearm at the husband. "Finish the job."
  7. Morphos

    Morphos Member

    Mar 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    not enough words sorry
  8. Morphos

    Morphos Member

    Mar 8, 2012
    Likes Received:

    Synesthesia [516]

    How many times has I changed? For all of them. I talked funny, I looked funny and now? Now I know I be happy when the wind is blowing real hard and the the light dances across the sky. But them fools. They wouldn't, couldn't leave it alone. And that's the part I love. Trickin they ass into belivin they gettin- some. I tricks them real good. Real good.

    I takes them into the woods and tell them they gots to follow real close, and they always do. So trustin but them Motherfuckas do anything for a little hmm hmm. Oh yeah, they got what coming to them. But no matter how many times I try I just can't go back. Them people hurt me deep and I be damned if I don't get mine like my daddy always tole me. You can't judge a book by it cover, cause what's inside might change yo mind. Mmm hm.

    “Exuse me, how much farther?”
    “You want some?”
    “Uh, yeah?”
    “Then you'll have it, but you gots to walk.”

    Any ways them trees they be watchin us the whole way. Scratching their limbs together, trying to warn them motherfuckas but they ain't listenin to no god damn trees anyway. I laughs at them trees!

    "Go ahead try yo best!" I yowl.
    "I plan on it. How-"
    "Shut yo god. damn. mouth."

    The wind picks up shaking them leaves like it's workin together with the trees, but I know that wind. I can smell the smoke, I can hear the belch of the vent. And I knowed it once too. I used to follow, but now I lead.

    When they hear them moans, I know the job is nearly complete. I'm a compelling liar. I learned my trade at the hands of a thousand evil men and women. Some of them young, some of them old, all of them very ignorant. Those same people will follow you into hell for a little love and some rock, Mmm hmm. And that's ok. I was at the cross roads a long time ago. Sold my soul for education and now I can act out any part. Did I mention I look different to everyone? Some see an uneducated country mouse, sometimes black, sometimes white, but always very attractive. I get them all. I send them all straight to hell, and they follow my shaking ass and my muscular frame excitin both. Just sit right and think what I might look like, who I might be. You never truly who you're following. And if you follow the wrong person, you just might find yourself walking into the woods. Mmm hmm. I have lived many lifetimes. Might be you know me. Next time you find yoself following somone; be mindful of yo weakness. Yo weakess will get yo ass into more trouble. If you don't believe me look at those dammned fools lined up behind me. Like they all goin to get a taste. They will. Soon enough they'll get more then they bargin fo, Mmm hmm.
  9. Patrick94

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Mar 9, 2011
    Likes Received:

    [noparse]Banish a Stereotype 2012

    From the man who brought you into his van with the lure of sweets comes a short story of dizzyingly average proportions...

    Jake Livermore stalked his target with menace, and, to those who knew him, relish (he usually kept it in a plastic box in case he got hungry - it was half price at the deli). The knife in his pocket was already coated in blood, but the action was only just beginning. He slithered across the ground after the man he was stalking, getting closer and closer with each passing second.

    * * *

    Unfortunately this story isn’t about Jake, for it was about Reece, who was on the other side of the world in America - no, that’s boring... France? Wait, that makes no sense... Mexico. That’s the one. He was edgy, but it might just have been his overly chiseled features. He handed his ticket over. The chubby woman behind the counter stared at him for a few seconds.

    “Date of birth?” Uh oh.

    “First of November.”


    “Every year.” Dagger eyes from the woman, tearing him apart since... “1991”.

    “Enjoy your flight,” she said angrily, ripping the stub off the ticket and handing it over roughly.

    A short walk to the plane and a nervous prayer upon seeing the pilot and his co-pilot led Reece to his seat. He took out his issue of FourFourTwo but was too nervous to concentrate properly, perpetuating stereotype after stereotype and ensuring this story never rises above mediocrity.

    * *

    One terrifying flight later, featuring vomit and alcohol, Reece walked unsteadily out of the plane at Cork Airport, the fictional song Second Chance by fictional band Thank God I’m Alive playing in his head. Check out was somewhat more pleasant than at the previous location, and he left the airport in one piece, but he knew he was being followed.

    He quickened his stride.

    The crowd that had seemed so full and boring a blink ago was now dissipating and terrifying; Reece needed to find a way out of the area and fast.

    * * *

    Jake was out of sight but within striking range of his target, such is the way of these crappy ‘action’ stories. I mean, come on, two days of reading rubbish buildup for a five minute fight where the hero suddenly becomes kick ass and beats everyone up on top of a boring plot that would think that it was better than it was if it had the capacity to think? Sorry. I had a muscle laxative earlier and now the keys are swimming before my eyes. I must remember to get out of the pool when using my computer.

    * * *

    Losing all composure, Reece broke into as good a trot as he could manage in a suit and tie, which was the equivalent of a pony trying to masturbate its way backwards up Patrick’s Street. His breath came in heavy inhalations, ragged with terror. He pushed himself harder...

    * * *

    Jake wielded his knife and took careful aim...

    * * *

    Reece threw himself to the floor, knowing the end was nigh...

    * * *

    Jake swung down, burying the blade deep within his target’s shoulder blades. There was an almost breathless gasp of pain before the blood soaked coughing began. Jake laughed triumphantly before pinning his victim down to ensure the kill.

    * * *

    “Get off!” wheezed Reece.

    “Gotcha!” cried Oliver.

    “Yeah I know, now get up before I get angry.”

    “You really thought flying to Ireland would help you win?” asked Oliver, helping his friend up.

    “It’s been done before.”

    “Only by Darren and Corry.”

    The en- What? What do you mean, what about Jake? I said the story wasn’t about him, didn’t I? You think he was chasing a guy coming out of an airport with security these days? Christ/Darwin’s first controversial son, you’re gullible. Anyway, safe home, a phrase which here means “I’m surprised you’re still reading at this point. You really have no standards. Wasn’t Kill Me If You Can awful? Oh yeah, I’m The Ghost. Oh yeah, all my friends are ex soldiers with access to extremely heavy weaponry. Sigh, they’ll do anything to get an extra buck these days. Then again, considering you’re still reading this, you probably enjoyed it.”[/noparse]
  10. cork279

    cork279 New Member

    Mar 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    The corner of a sphere
    Hades Vengeance

    Hades Vengeance (580 words)

    Heaven was a miraculous land the Gods had bestowed. Fountains flung water, glistening in the light, caught by the voices of angels and slowly drifting back down to the sparkling pool the fountain embodied. The clouds beneath their feet slowly drifted across the contemptible land below; the land that mankind had trodden upon; building their rich, yet trepid existence. Many columns had stood in heaven, then went on, embowed over the God's heads; glistening white. The Gods knowledge was vivid, like no human could match. They knew all and everything to know of the land below; so-called, Earth. Something was about to happen over the clouds that day that mankind would find out, yet they'll never remember.

    Zeus, as his position amongst the Gods shown, bestowed great power throughout Heaven. He possessed the power of lightening, a strong force of the element of air. In his imperial blue tunic, and strong padded sandles, he trod amongst the Gods and kept all things right. An easy task for a God, however his brother made this task difficult. Sat in a throne of dismembered bodies, was a man possessing equal, but limited power. His eyes glow bright red as he pondered. The trivial God of the land, Hades, sunk into his chair, distraught. He was looked down upon by his younger brothers, and his power limited due to the risk of him becoming deeply rebellious. However this risk was about to become a reality. For this night Cronus, father of Zeus & Hades, had returned to take back the throne from Zeus as King of the Gods. Cronus was large, and always had been limitlessly more powerful than Zeus. Unlike the other Gods, Cronus felt pity for Hades, and was very naive, for a man of his stature. Cronus relieved Hades of his limits, unknowing of what was to come.

    Each God was known by a different identity. Different identities; different influences to power. Hades' influence was the dead and vast riches - he was the king of the underworld, punisher in the depths of hell. Thus his identity was a powerful one, a risk to even the most powerful Gods, especially now his limits were relieved.

    Hades had seemed to cause little havoc, but this was about to become a lot; for he thought, and thought of a way he could take control of the land. After a while, he took interest of what was above; above him where he'd sat at his throne in the depths of Hell. On the surface where mankind had stood. Mankind seemed to have invented a creature which he quite liked, a creature so deadly, a creature that could fight; humans in a ghastly disguise. Zombies they were called. A mythical beast much like the spirits that wandered hell, concealed by the figure of man.

    That night, Hades spread a curse upon the Earth. Men and women awoke, clothes torn, faces bled, eyes red with rage. Many ran, as their arms flung into the air, towards a bright light shining across the horizon. It was a portal into heaven, opened by Hades. The creatures mankind had now become charged across the clouds, ripping sparkling angels, dismembering their bodies, sparkling no more. These creatures somehow possessed Godly power, angels fit for them to devour. Wings flew no more, and angels lie dead. The Gods begun to tremble. Cronus realised his mistakes, though Zeus did not tremor; his lifeless head sat on the end of a stake.
  11. MRice

    MRice Member

    Feb 20, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Tacoma, WA
    The Last Farewell (788 words)

    The heat shimmered off the road and in the air as Arimis stared bleakly into the valley. From where they stood few feet away with the horses, Night, Stalker and Thaedra waited. They'd ridden south, rather then using some of their considerable talents.

    "Shouldn't we...", began Thaedra.

    "No.", came the reply from both Night and Stalker. Thaedra sighed restlessly. She'd gotten dragged into this and wanted to be back in a better when. One that had air conditioning and chips. Instead she was standing on a hot, dusty road facing five or more hours in a saddle on a horse in the wretched heat.

    Night and Stalker's eyes stayed fixed on Ari, though Stalker set a light hand on Thaedra's shoulder, "If I know Ari... and I do... this isn't going to take long Thae. Then we can get on the road." Stalker's voice was quiet, answering Thaedra's silent impatience.

    Night flicked a brief glance at his sister, then settled his lavender eyes back on Ari and sighed. "Soul-Lover..?" He spoke no louder then Stalker had, but it was enough to reach Ari's ears.

    Ari heard them, much like one hears insects buzzing on a summers day. Not important. She let her dark eyes sweep over the valley again. It had been pretty three years ago but famine and war had all but decimated the area. She raised her eyes, trying to pick out the remains of what had been her Keep and saw only gray stones. She glanced at the tiny pile of treasure at her side and sighed. That's all that's left of a history, she thought bleakly. I entrusted a few to hold them all safe and I find myself yet again betrayed. Fury bubbled up in her. Fuck you, she thought savagely, fuck you all. I trusted and I tried and still I am betrayed. I'm done. Letting the fury consume her, she shimmered into dragon, the black and gold scales almost blinding in the summer sun. Fury propelled her skyward, higher and higher. Fury and hurt energized her as she drew in a deep lungful of air and narrowed her gaze on the valley. Fury guided her aim as she flew over it and over it spitting gouts of flame.

    On the road Thaedra's jaw dropped. She knew Arimis had a temper, but never had she expected this. Stalker sighed, "Bout what I expected. I did warn you Thaedra that Ari was the more then a match for an Arkenlight." He'd seen her this furiously hurt only once or twice before and each time he'd stayed out of her way and let her fury run its course. This time was no different.

    Night shook his head, watching his beloved soul-mate decimate the valley. He had no words. He knew on a deeper level then the others the fury and hurt that burned hot through his mates mind. In the same circumstances he wasn't so sure he wouldn't do something similar. The night before he'd tried to comfort her with little success. He'd offered small bits of hope, but in the overwhelming face of her pain it was like spitting on a wildfire to put it out.

    It was eerily silent in the valley, save for the faint crackling of burning buildings and plants. Smoke began to obscure the sight of utter destruction. Buildings didn't just burn, they melted. Even as high as they stood above the burning valley, they could feel the waves of heat billowing up. It was like hell on earth.

    Arimis landed silently on the cliff, gave a deep sigh and shimmered back to human. Without a backwards glance she scooped up the small bundle, strode over to them and swung up on her horse. "Well come on you slackers, we don't have all fucking day ya' know." her voice soft, flat and chilled. She didn't wait for an answer, but set off at an easy run. She was done looking back.

    The others wasted no time catching up and all four headed north once more. Only Night paused briefly to look back at the utter destruction that Ari had wrought. Blackened earth as far as the eye could see. Through the haze though came a flash of green. Night frowned and looked harder, then smiled softly. Off to one side was a perfectly untouched square of green, with a clear enough path out of the devastation. In the center of the green stood a small cottage. Still smiling Night turned his horses head and dug his heels in to catch up to the others. He wouldn't say anything to Ari or the others, it was enough that he knew there was still a tender spot in his soul-mates heart.
  12. AxleMAshcraft

    AxleMAshcraft Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    Likes Received:
    In my Head (USA)
    Lying to Kelly
    (876 Words)

    I knew it would only be a matter of time before someone, finally, caught up and made me tell the truth. It wasn’t a real problem though. Not like a shortage of gas in the tank or the nonexistence of food that was supposed to be put on the equally invisible table. It was nothing like that, really. They were white lies, no matter how many times that phrase has been overused. They weren’t really hurting anyone. I mean, sure, there’s still Kelly. Kelly was, well, she was quite simple, an exception. Every rule has one, every moral has one, every person who thinks they know how to live there life has one.
    Kelly still thinks my name is Clark Dean. Which is far, quite far, from the truth. It didn’t start out that way though, another line used too much today in the cinema and the novels. There wasn’t much of a story though. She was just a random girl that stood behind the counter of a convenience store connected to a gas station and when, at the end of her four hour shift, she noticed that I was still parked in one of the spots outside and that I was the same man that had walked in earlier, bought a few things and told her to keep the change. Saying, of course, that my name was Clark Dean. She was having a smoke standing outside, the oversized, over-colored shirt that boxed in her body doing nothing to make her look ultimately less depressing.
    “You’re that guy, right?” She said, turning and looking in my open window, spitting away the smoke in a different direction. “The guy that was in here this morning? When I was opening up?” I opened the car door, closing it behind me so I could lean against is.
    I remember running my fingers through my hair and looking at the ground, trying not to smile. It had been a long while since I talked to…well anyone. “Yeah. Yeah I am. You’re Kelly, right?”
    She looked a little confused, taking another huff of the cigarette caught between her fingers.
    “It’s on your nametag.” I said, pointing and still standing there awkwardly.
    She sat down on the curb, the shirt wrinkling across her skinny belly. She chuckled a little bit: “Yeah, my name’s Kelly and you’re…” She trailed off as I walked and sat down next to her, far enough away so I wasn’t scary or anything. “…I’m kidding, I couldn’t remember what your name was. Plus you paid with cash.”
    “Clark Dean.” I blurted out.
    “What were you doing…not doing anything?” She asked, tilting her head and dropping the hand holding the cigarette between her splayed knees. “You were just sitting in that car all day.”
    “Yeah, yeah I was. I dunno…” I trailed off, trying to think of a way to put it all out there. “I don’t have anywhere to go, it’s not that big of a deal to just sit somewhere for a while.”
    “Nah, I guess not.”
    We sat there for a while, talked about her troubles and toils, her story and her life. I asked her if she was cold, at one point, right after the few street lights turned on, and I gave her my jacket.
    I don’t know what made her do it, but after I told her that I was leaving, that I should probably get going on my trip to nowhere, that I would probably never see her again, she leaned over and kissed me. Right on the lips. Her breath smelled like cigarettes but for some reason, it wasn’t as nasty as I thought. It was sweet, almost pleasant.
    “I’m sorry.” I said, right after she pulled back and looked at my face.
    “Why?” She said, looking at me and brushing hair out of her face.
    “Because I’m something so horrible and you’re something that isn’t. Because I could try all my life and never be as good as you. Because no one sees you, you know?” Paused, biting my lip. “No one sees how amazing you are except a complete stranger with a car and a few dollars to his name.”
    Kelly was probably the one reason I regretted all of this. If I hadn’t told her my name was Clark Dean, then I could have stayed forever. I didn’t have money, I didn’t have a place to stay, I wouldn’t be able to bring her on dates but I could love her the way she deserved.
    We could blame it on my old man. We could blame it on school teachers. Hell, we could blame it on anyone. I have, I will.
    I left home because my life was trash. I was starting to think I was trash. And there were a million reasons to leave and not one to stay. So I did just that. I left that trash house and the trash school in my trash car and just drove.
    And since then, a year ago today, I haven’t told one person my real name.
    Kelly thinks I’m Clark Dean. Dean Jameson. James Wills. William Heather. Heath Matthewson. Matt Cameron. Cameron Jackson. Jack Dani. Dan Adams.
    The only rule was I never used the same one twice.
  13. Force

    Force New Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Bottom of the world
    Immortal Colors (902)

    Red’s fingers worked quickly as he connected wires. It was something he had been doing all evening and he was nearly finished. A flicker of light from the window caught his eye. Bright blue lights above the docks lit up the rapidly darkening sky. It lingered for a few seconds before fading.

    So it’s begun, he thought. He counted to five. Then covered his ears with his hands, closed his eyes and dived to the ground.

    There was an ear-shattering roar as the docks blew apart. Unfazed, Red picked himself up and resumed working. He could hear screams from the dying in the distance. Their cries echoed in the back of his mind, almost as a comfort, while he grieved the loss of a friend. He wouldn’t make it either. There wasn’t enough time. There had never been enough time.

    The small seaside village of Rivan had been abandoned, evacuated only mere hours ago when the presence of The Fey had been confirmed. With their backs to a cliff, and an open beach at their front, a successful defense would have been impossible with what was available. The Mimir simply did not have the resources to try. The only reason Rivan had stood for so long in this war was because hardly anyone knew it existed.

    So the Mimir sent in the Colors. ‘Let them in. Kill them all,’ had been their orders. It was suicide. They knew that from the start, but they would do it anyway. They were the specialists after all. They had a reputation to maintain - amongst both sides.

    There was a small explosion behind him, making Red jump in surprise. His trap by the doorway had been tripped by a wolf. The canine’s charred remains were still smoking. An ear-piercing howl sounded through the night.

    Finished with his task, he leapt over the burnt corpse and ran out the door. His fingers reached into his pockets and pulled out a small crimson sphere. Its contents swirled in his fist as he ran. Another howl sounded behind him, this time much closer. He rounded a corner and stopped dead. There were wolves everywhere. He was completely surrounded.

    There was a low guttural growl. “You will pay for those you have killed Mimir.” The wolf that spoke was much larger than the others. It was the Alpha. “Your legend ends tonight.” There was a distinct note of satisfaction in his voice.

    Red remained silent: Thinking, weighing his options. But his mind continued to churn up blank slates. This was it. No way out. Not that he had truly expected to get away. He realized he had been prepared for this moment for a long time.

    His released his hold on the glass sphere. It hit the ground and shattered. A small puff of colorless smoke was emitted as the ruby liquid evaporated into its new surroundings. Red watched with mild amusement as the pale smoke drifted higher. It would be a few more seconds before it took full effect. Like Blue’s, it would light up the night. He turned his attention back to the Lycans. Some of the lesser wolves had backed away, wary of the shattered orb. The Alpha however, stood steadfast.

    Red smiled and saluted his adversary. It was a mocking gesture. He removed the ruby streaked half mask that covered his mouth. The lower half of his face was pale, having rarely been exposed to the sun. He took a deep breath. It would be his last. “The legend is true you know,” he said, “Heroes rise and fall. But the Colors will never-"


    The third man watched from atop the cliff behind the village as the dark sky glowed red. He wore a half mask that covered the lower part of his face. Emerald streaks emblazoned the sides. He was young, barely twenty. But his eyes reflected a resolve not seen in veterans twice his age. The young man sighed. It was the second flare that night. On the ground beside him were two detonators. Red and blue: twin pumps attached to strong, thick cables leading all the way back down to the village.

    "Die," he whispered as he gazed down towards the village now swarmed by Fey. He counted to five then jabbed downwards on the red detonator.

    The earth trembled and night turned to day as the village burned. Red had really outdone himself this time. Nothing would remain – except ashes and the Colors. Drawing his knife, he knelt and severed the detonators from their blackened wires.

    Slowly, he turned away from the ashes of Rivan and walked away. The twin detonators were slung across each shoulder to join the green one strapped to his back. He did not look back. The job was done and he now had another. A legacy to uphold: To honor those who had served before him.

    There would be other Reds and other Blues. He was Green, but he was not the first; nor would he be the last. They were common men: Fighting a war alongside and against horrors beyond imagining. Each hoping that they would be the ones to see the end of the war. Three men bonded together by the same determination and courage under the legend of the Colors.

    Men without magic charged to maintain but one illusion in their battle:

    Heroes rise and fall. But the Colors will never die.
  14. Tessie

    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

    Aug 8, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Here’s Anonymous [1903 words]

    Yeah, you’ve seen me before. I’m the guy with a thousand faces. One ordinary identity strutting the sidewalk blends with the next in seamless ease. You’ve seen me on the shoulder of the road, walking with head hanging. Plastered over the front page in black and white. Sitting on the dark street curb. In the back seat of a Greyhound. I don’t ask for nothing, and I don’t usually take nothing, although, I’ve had my days. But don’t judge me. I’m not proud of what I’ve done. You don’t know what it’s like. This is my life, not a lot to it, but it’s a living, a living in the glistening city.

    The grit on the cement trembles like a posse of ants as a train approaches the cold subway. I hear it slowing as it nears. The clamoring of the engine grows into a monotonous drone as familiar as the sound of honking cars that flows down the stairwell to me. But it’s all static. Sometimes, days on end pass without my notice. I wouldn’t know the time except for the scheduled arrivals and departures of the trains.

    My eyes blink for the millionth time in a silent, unnerved trance. I glance around. It’s about nine, and, thankfully, I’m alone. No other characters have decided to squat on my turf today. Good thing, because I’m beat. My neck itches. I pick at a scab that was a pesky mite’s last meal. Can’t remember the last time I shaved.

    Standing from the chilled bench, I stretch my back, flick my last cigarette into the blackened abyss soon to be filled with the squealing girth of the train; a signal, which I’ve decided will be the end of me. Last cigarette, last puff. I’m through with the world. I’ve had my share of bad days, but this one spells the end of my patience.

    First, some a--hole stole my wallet. Yanked it right out of my pocket as I lay sleeping. Then his buddy gave my guitar a stomp just for the heck of it. I woke up to both of them hollering and grabbing my shirt. Then I threw a punch, landing it square on a jaw.

    Sure, it was a ratty instrument, but I was proud of it and the few rambling songs I had managed to teach myself. I could have tolerated all of that, because it’s not the first time I’ve been robbed in a subway, but then that NYPD had to show face and break up the tussle, which, miraculously, I was gaining the upper hand in.

    “Break it up you two!”

    The crook with his bleeding lip pointed at me and shouted to the cop, “That punk tried to rob us!”

    I glared back and screamed, “You a--hole! You’re the one who’s got my wallet!”

    The cop held out a hand, and the crook relinquished it to him. The officer inspected it, and sternly noted, “There’s no ID in it.” He glanced at me suspiciously, then the crook.

    “Officer, our train is about to leave. It’s mine,” the crook said quickly. “My license was left behind at home by mistake.”

    I looked at him closely. It was easy for him to pose like that. He was wearing regular clothing compared to me. I was ragged and grimy.

    After a moment, the cop slowly handed it back to him and glanced at me, saying, “If you know what’s right for you, I’d suggest you turn around and leave.”

    I saw an evil grin light on the crook’s face from behind the officer’s shoulder. I jumped and tried to get at him.

    “You f-ing liar!”

    The cop shoved me back, containing me like some wild animal, then sent me on my merry way with another rigid shove.

    I shuffled to the stairs, but glanced back in time to see the crooks boarding the train, loot in hand. I just kept walking after that. I had won battles before and lost just as many, but tonight wasn’t going to be another mark on my scorecard. Up the stairs and into the dark, I went, trying to disappear with the crowd. But it’s hard to do that when you look homeless and smell like a dog.

    But I remember you. We accidently bumped shoulders as I fled, and you just stood there, pretending you hadn’t seen the fight or the punch as they pulled my guitar away. You stood there! What happened to you? Didn’t you use to fight? I guess if I was flat on my face in some roadside ditch you wouldn’t notice either? You’d keep driving without any hesitation, consoling yourself with the thought that I might have died at my own hand.

    But you’ve seen me times even before that. Remember the drunk shivering outside Dunkin’ Donuts yesterday morning? That was me as I waited for a friend who never showed up. Or what about that guy whose home is just a cot on the sidewalk; his family, the pet dog? And that big-time broker on the corner of Main Street last Tuesday? You drove past the curb as he waited in the rain for a cab, holding a hot coffee in one hand, gripping a leather briefcase in the other as the rain slicked down his neck into his collar. Yeah, you’ve seen me lots of times. I’m that face you recognize everywhere, but you just pretend you don’t notice anymore.

    I have many masks I go by. Some you might never see. I’m the nine-year-old kid who walks home from school every day. My parents don’t have a car. Our house is in foreclosure. I’m also the teenager who goes to sleep at the sound of ringing gunshots. I’m the lone hitchhiker, far from home, but whose destination is nowhere, just somewhere else.

    I know many languages. Hello, Hola, salam, bonjour, namaskar, cao, goedendag, guten tag, shalom, boas, jambo. I’ve traveled the world. Wherever there is starvation and need, you’ll find me.

    Your friends wear a Yarmulke, a black-bead rosary, or a tie-dye t-shirt that reads “All You Need is Love”. I see them at Lou’s Diner, sipping coffee, outside of Macy’s, shopping bags in hand, or in the cathedral down on Sullivan Street, lighting candles. Please tell them to light one for me?

    So, here I am. Standing in some friendless place; in a subway nine o’ clock at night. A different subway than earlier, though. I don’t feel like running into more cops. The train’s brakes are squealing, but I can’t quite make out its head in the tunnel. Then suddenly the beastly head emerges out of the black, speeding toward me like a crazed bull. The headlight glistens on the steely tracks, like a spider web suddenly witnessing the glare of a flashlight.

    I’m beat. I’ve had enough experiences to fill a lifetime, and somehow I know I won’t be missed. I lean over. Panting, holding my breath. Ready to fall into the pitching squeals. I’m through. Nothing is going to better my situation.

    Someone grabs my shoulder, yanking me out of my daze.

    “Whoa, dude, look out!”

    I fall into your arms, look up into your beautiful face. You half-laugh, embarrassed, then quickly push me onto my feet.

    “Must be some wicked hangover you’ve got,” you say as your shining, dark locks bounce around your face.

    “Yeah . . . some party.” I lie. I step backwards and stumble awkwardly. You grab my arm and steady me.

    “What are you doing here?” you say as passengers begin to step off the train. “This isn’t a place to be nine o’ clock at night.”

    “Given my situation, it’s kinda fitting.” The cold look in my eye must give the right impression. You glance at the floor momentarily, but then return to my gaze.

    “Well, what’s fitting for you right now is a cup of coffee.” You begin to pull me toward the train. “My bf’s suddenly decided to come down with a cold tonight, so I’ve suddenly decided to go without him . . . jerk.”

    As you help me into a seat, you pull a bottle of water out of your purse. After handing it to me, you ask, “Have I met you before? You look awfully familiar. Especially that beard.”

    I laugh, admitting, “I’ve got that sort of face. People tell me that all the time.”

    “I’ve seen you somewhere before, though.” Your polished nail absently taps your chin as you think. “Did you attend St. Anthony’s Elementary?”

    I grin. “Never heard of it.”

    “What about around here? Where’d you grow up?”

    After a pause, I answer, “I’ve lived here and there. Never really been a permanent resident, though.”

    “Come on, you gotta help me out. I know I’ve seen you before.” You point a finger at me and grin, waiting for a reply.

    But I don’t have anything to offer. I just stare at you, feeling lightheaded.

    “What about Rugby Branch Library? I know I’ve seen you there!”

    I shake my head, smiling. “Sorry, no.”

    “Ah, fuhgeddaboudit! I’m sure to remember one of these days, and when I do, you won’t be able to deny it.”

    We both chuckle, and I ask, “What about you? Always lived around here?”

    You cross your arms, leaning back into the seat. “For the most part. My family’s from Long Island, but I prefer the city. Obviously.”

    I chuckle. “You seem to fit right in, city girl.”

    “I’ve always loved it. That’s why I’ll live here. I’ve decided that the guy I marry has to have a place on the water front. Close to the sea but also convenient to the subway.”

    After a pause, I ask, “What about your friend with the head cold? Does he like the city?”

    You smile. “He’s a bumpkin. Therefore, doesn't have a place by the harbor.”


    “No, it’s okay, I had the feeling it wasn’t going to work out anyway.” You wink and then glance out the window as the train lurches forward. After nestling into the seat, you begin to talk about your life, and I listen.

    We went to Dunkin’ Donuts and talked for hours. We ended up staying until the doors locked us out. After we got off the train at my subway, you said you wanted to meet again the next night, and the rest is history.

    You were the reason I straightened out all right. I had been in and out of shelters enough to know it wasn’t my thing. I often attracted trouble more than deterred it. But, somehow, going into that Red Cross building with you by my side felt different. Like I was facing some monstrous fear head-on and then coming to the realization that it was just my own shadow. I saw everything differently. You gave me perspective.

    Can’t say it was all uphill from there. Yeah, it was a real crapshoot. For a while, I was just your loser friend, not even boyfriend, although, you always had eyes for me. During my recovery, I got a few jobs, kept at least half of them, and then managed to keep my head above water altogether. But it was all your doing. I won’t take credit.

    So, you have seen me before, I’ll admit it, and you’re sure to see me again. Remember that musician/homeless guy you saved today? That was me. I’m sure glad I met you.
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