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  1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Short Story Contest (18) - Theme: An Inanimate

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jan 30, 2008.

    Short Story
    Contest 18
    Theme: From the perspective of an inanimate


    Open to all, newbies and established members alike. Please post your entries in this thread. At the deadline I will collate all entries and put them forward for voting in a seperate thread. Sadly there are no prizes but honour on offer. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner.

    Theme: from the perspective of an inanimate (courtesy of myself): You could write a story about a specific inanimate or possible a collective inanimate which may be even more challenging / interesting. For those that require a little assistance feel free to PM me with questions. For your collective musing here is wordnet's definition of inanimate.

    inanimate

    adjective
    1. belonging to the class of nouns denoting nonliving things; "the word 'car' is inanimate" [ant: animate]
    2. not endowed with life; "the inorganic world is inanimate"; "inanimate objects" [ant: animate]
    3. appearing dead; not breathing or having no perceptible pulse; "an inanimate body"; "pulseless and dead" [syn: breathless]

    Suggested Length: 500 - 3000 words.
    Deadline for entries: February 13th 2008 17.00 (UK local)


    There is a ten percent leniency above and below the upper and lower word limits, respectively. Please try to stick within these limits. Any piece outside of the suggested limit will still be entered into the contest but flagged as such.

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

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

    Thanks and good luck.
     
  2. Raffles
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    Raffles Member

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    DONE TO DEATH: (618 words.)


    We met when I was eighteen and from that first moment came the understanding we’d be together for a lifetime. It was love at first sight for me and she felt the same – she knew I’d take care of her, it’s all she needed.

    She was beautiful. Dark skinned, bright flashing eyes, and not too tall – perfect.
    Although she had one tiny flaw discovered soon after our introduction; she was high maintenance, like all females. Well I didn’t mind, she gave me back a great deal more than I deserved.

    We began our journey soon after we met. Saw things few even dream about during the years we shared. I remember one memorable journey across a hot, relentless desert highway that made us both choke. Many times we’d stop to catch our breath and let the dust settle. We’d stand side by side to watch an impressive sunset – the clouds turning a bruised purple and orange as storm clouds lingered on the horizon. Sometimes we camped for the night and she’d keep me safe and warm from the cool desert chill, while mysterious creatures scuttled around us.

    After the desert came relief when we reached the coastal road, the cool sea-breeze in our faces gave us both more vitality. The fresh air cleaned our lungs and charged our batteries. However, she didn’t like the surf. Once I took her down to the water and she stood dead still in her tracks – it took me ages to get her back on to dry land after she froze in the swirling waves.

    It was my decision not to have children. It wasn’t hard to imagine them leaving ice cream cones in the back seat, scratching the upholstery with their shoe buckles, and slowing us down when they needed to stop for toilet breaks. It was no life for kids.
    As we both grew older, the realisation came she wouldn’t make it to the end. Her small heart wasn’t strong enough. The years of travel had weakened her, slowed down her drive to go on. Now I wished we’d stayed home more – wished we’d settled into an average life of domesticity instead of steering on to the next unfamiliar town – the next anticipated sight.

    But being stubborn I had urged her on, said she’d be fine and told her she complained about nothing, even though she often warned me of her fatigue. She would drop little hints – sometimes funny little sighs, and now and then a little cough. Knowing deep down the cough was serious and it was damaging her strength, I ignored the signs - couldn’t admit she was sicker than she let on. How could do you prepare yourself to say goodbye to the most important female in your life? Besides, I had no money left for the help she needed. Travelling and using up my inheritance had come at great cost to her.

    Stroking her smooth dark skin at night after a long tiring day is one of my happiest memories. Now it's dimpled and faded, despite the money I’d spent on her to maintain it. In that regard she didn’t ask for much.

    Yesterday she coughed her last breath. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I rested my hands on her body and recalled our years together – the things we’d seen – the words I’d said and the way she spoke back. Once I yelled at her, but she forgave me – she always forgave me.

    So I stand dry eyed as they take her away and hold what’s left - the faded photograph taken when we met. It’s a picture of me sitting on her bonnet – the dark green bonnet of a Mini Cooper ‘S’.
     
  3. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Filling my Days with Fun (784 words)

    I have often heard people complaining about the person who controls the weather, or asking the skies why it is raining yet again. I laugh at that silently to myself, wondering if they realised that the weather was actually controlled by someone, or something. Me. So now I hear a bunch of curios people asking, who is me? Well, put simply, I am the weather. If it is snowing and blistering cold winds, I am behind it, or if the sun is scorching and there’s not a cloud in sight, you can thanks me.

    Well, it was the first day of February and I thought it was time for a bit of snow in the north of England so I took a thick grey cloud up and above a town called Stockton. Stockton is a pretty boring town, a network of suburban estates with Ford focus driving men and hair obsessed women, not to mention a Friday night trend of binge-drinking youths. Well, as most Fridays, I decided it was time to make the weather terrible for them, as I was in a disapproving mood of alcohol at the minute, and so it began to snow. Not just now though, no, it rained aswell. It rained so hard that the little pellets of water bounced of the ground, cars and heads and sprung back up into the air like crickets on speed. And the wind, I blew so hard that people were struggling to turn corners upright. Yes, I was having a right fun time when I decided to venture away from the town centre and towards the estates. I had stopped the rain and was allowing a few snowflakes to lazily drift towards Earth as a treat for the snow loving idiots who inhabited the area, when I saw something that made my day.

    Since I could hear you gasp in astonishment and wonder at what I had seen that could have possibly been that good, I’ll tell you. Walking from a school door was a young girl, maybe about 15, and she was wearing a skirt. Not just any skirt though, no, one of those little black ones that blow up to reveal little knickers at the slightest puff of wind. And, just to add to my delight, she was also wearing a little jacket that showed half her midriff and had no hood. Now, on a girl with perfectly straight hair, I am sure not having a hood in the middle of a storm would not go down well. An idea came across my mind.

    To start the show, I had a huge gust of wind sweep the length of the road, whistling through leaves that lined the ground and rattling window panes. When it reached the young lady, her skirt blew straight up, revealing a pair of bright pink knickers underneath her tights, which delighted the group of young lads walking behind her as much as it did me. At this the girl grabbed her skirt with both hands, dropping the books she was originally carrying. Her face flushed bright pink and she bent to pick the first one up, but the wind blew once more and swept the little blue Science book further down the road and under the wheel of a car.

    The girl ran forward and grabbed the book before hurrying off in the direction she was originally walking. Having been filled with adrenalin, I was determined to not stop the fun yet. So it rained. Heavy. Within seconds the girl’s hair was plastered to her face and absolutely sopping, despite her attempt to shield herself with the books. The rain was pouring so fast and hard that soon little puddles lined the pathways, making it impossible to avoid stepping into one. Well, the girl was outsmarted me plan and walked on the grass instead, very close to the edge of a bank leading to a beck below. The, the genius that I am, I have anther idea. With a puff of wind so strong it would take the roof from your house, the girl staggered on the edge of the back for a moment, before loosing her footing and sliding down the muddy sides into the over-flown beck.

    The girl clambered from the murky water, looking like a drown rat. She fished her books from the mud and ran, now ignoring the blistering cold winds, puddles that looked like swimming pools and the fact her skirt was wrapped round her waist. I followed her all the way home, right until she slammed the door behind her and most likely collapsed crying once safely inside. A smile spread across my face, my work was done for today.



    Heather
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The Statue (Words 821)

    George sat alone in the darkened room, analyzing the small figure of a Greek Hoplite in his hand. He had bought it from a friend just a few hours ago, and already, he could see why his friend had liked it so much. The perfectly curved marble body seamed elegant and soft in his hand. Its face was so detailed you could see the cracks in he Hoplite’s skin. He turned it around and looked on the back. A large, and curved black T taken up much of the statuettes torso, it ran down his spine in an almost perfect line. It seamed to have been added onto the statue as when he rubbed his finger over the symbol, it seamed rough, like flint. An unwelcoming contrast between the smooth, glittering craft work of marble that made the statue so beautiful, and the reason why he bought it.

    The letter T on the item’s back was very mysterious and George pondered over its organ. Some ancient civilization whose mysteries are but lost to history, he was so rapped up in this puzzle that he had not realized the phone had been ringing. The sound hit him like a sharp slap and he glanced over to the phone.

    Grumbling, he got to his feet and answered the phone. “George?” He voice said “It’s Simon”

    “Hey, how are you man?” George smiled.

    “I’m fine… look, about that thing I sold you today” He said.

    “The Greek soldier? What about it?”

    “I just wanted to know if you had seen the symbol on the back? I’m sorry I forgot to mention it”

    “I seen it just now” George said, “What is it?”

    “It is a Greek letter, Tau”

    “Oh?”

    “Yeh, it’s said Tau means life, or reincarnation, if you believe this crap”

    “No, I can’t say I do” Simon laughed

    “I just thought you’d like to know, I had just been reminded about it when looking though some old book here in my study… I seen the letter Tau, and thought of you.”

    “Thanks, I wouldn’t have known that, otherwise… interesting.”

    “You didn’t spend two years of University studying this”

    “I guess not… I was doing more important things” George said, a sly smile on his face.

    “Like what? The science of getting pissed”

    They laughed “Yeh… Will, I’m going to have to let you go mate, I got things to do”

    “Sure… see you later then”

    “Sure will… later then” George said, he heard a ‘Bye’ before he hung up.

    Tau? Life? Nice.

    Reincarnation?


    He often loved teasing himself with the mysteries of the universe, the meaning of life, the origin of life, it all seamed to him to be questions he played with to entertain himself. He heard his clock strike, and he counted the bets. It was eleven O’clock. He placed the statue down on his chair side table and eyed it one last time before he went up the stairs.

    After a lengthy time, tossing in his bed, and trying to get comfortable he found he simply couldn’t relax, and he pulled himself out of bed, cursing his unfortunate Insomnia. As he descended the stairs, he noticed a soft Red glow coming from his living room. He hurried down the stairs, not entirely sure what to expect. A strange light shining from the table, it looked like the statue was on fire. It was like some one shining a red touch light at him.

    He walked over to it and hold it up, it’s eyes where glowing red, and a strong heat was radiating from it. For being so small a thing, there was a lot of heat emitting from it. He breathed and let something, too weak to be rightly called words, out of his mouth, questioning it.

    The sound of glass shattering mate George jump, eyes darted around, looking for movement of any kind, he could feel something was not right. He hated it. A soft creaking came from the kitchen, in shock he dropped the statue to the floor with a thud. What’s this? He thought, Who is that?

    He moved though the black, trying not to disturb anything as he walked. However, he still whispered into the darkness, ‘Hello? Anyone there?’ He asked, walking toward his kitchen. ‘Hello?’

    Then, out the dark, came a jabbing, screaming pain that rippled though his body. He dropped to the ground and curled his fist around a handle now in his body. A heavy, cold feeling ran down his chest. He didn’t move, he couldn’t move. He was paralyzed. A hooded face emerged from nowhere over him as his grasp on the world diminished. The youth shouted something to him, but it simply became noise to his victims’ disinterested ears.

    Curled up on floor below him, George lay dieing. The last image of this world he seen was of an eerie red glow, slowly fading away.

    The end.
     
  5. MarcG
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    MarcG Contributing Member

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    Musings of a Stuffed Bear {772 words}

    ----------------------

    Today, I existed, I suppose. Or did I? “Thinking” is a foreign experience. Descartes once said: “I think, therefore I am.” But am I really thinking? Are not experience, speaking, thought, and existing exclusive to living things? Therefore, I do not really exist. But no, I am thinking! I would say that I am thinking at this very moment! Yes, then I must exist. Glad to have settled that matter, as existential crises are far from uplifting!

    I would say that I like to watch people, though my opinions are skewed by the fact that I’ve only ‘existed’ for a few hours. How is it that they can carry on their lives without the slightest awareness of their own existence? I can only imagine what they would conclude if asked! “I am a person”, they might say – or “I am Jeremy Smith.” But they are so much more than a name, or a person! To think that such potential to exist is wasted!

    Jeremy walked by again. Yes, yes, Jeremy Smith. He walks by without the slightest thought of what he really is. He might say “Yes, I am a person – and you are but a stuffed bear. What of it?”, but that would be the extent of the conversation. Can he not see the world around him? The universe? Or perhaps just his own existence? He simply walks by, sits on the couch, and flips on the TV. I seem to have some recollections from before I came into being – watching the television is the typical activity pursued by this specimen. One might say that the television is the bane of intelligent thought. One may be right, since as far as I can see not only is Jeremy incapable of answering his mother’s questions with much more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but is utterly devoid of thoughts with any substance while engaged in this activity.

    What a shame! Despite a marked increase in my own thought patterns – from void to enviable, I might add – I still can’t move. Such a waste, being inanimate and all – stuck in a life of silent pondering. Perhaps that is the root of my concern with existence as a whole? Or, perhaps, that is the reason I sit here, unabsorbed by the fruitless idleness, bickering, complaining, and unsurpassed jealousy… wondering how they all waste their existence so?

    Perhaps this deficiency is not as bad as I thought. While I am unable to move, I am still able to think. Hmm. Jeremy has just picked up the phone, and if my pre-existing memory serves me right, he is probably calling his girlfriend Liz. Yes; the shrill and warbled voice peals through Jeremy’s overly loud cell-phone. But what is the point of such a relationship? Jeremy is moving far away to college soon, and it sounds as if Liz is remaining in this city. Is not the point of a relationship to… procreate? I realize that mentioning such things is ‘obscene’, but I must admit… being a stuffed bear tends to make any sort of moral or value system abstract. What am I to know of "morals"? I was not raised, nor was I cultured. Tantamount to that, if I cannot do, I cannot say - I have no experience in the matter. What do I know of certain 'human' actions, phrases, or censors? I can't exactly walk up to someone and "gyrate my hips".

    But in all seriousness, how can they pursue such a fleeting relationship? Could it be that they are latching onto curious moments of happiness as they have realized the true nature of life? No; they have not realized life’s relative brevity. They merely act on the basis of continued, molded lives. Why change a routine if it does not make you unhappy? Better yet, why seek fulfillment if the feeling in itself is an abstract, and life is “far from serious”? I suppose I have a rather prejudiced sentiment, as I am little more than an envious stuffed bear. No, I would not say I am envious. It is more that I regret for them. Could I truly find happiness when I must live out a routine and work for fate alone to crush my advances? Worse yet, the inevitable curtain of doom looms constantly over the horizon – for some, it is hidden behind a hill or cluster of trees, while for others, it is omnipresent. How can those who realize their eventual fate overcome what ill whims may accompany those thoughts? Life! The ability to exist, to grow, to live – but at what cost? A transient existence. But what do I know? I’m a teddy bear.
     
  6. (Mark)
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    (Mark) Contributing Member

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    The Show Must Go On

    The Show Must Go On (2,985 Words)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    I: The Descent

    The cool breeze blew through the entranceway to the 24 hour supermarket. It seemed to find a home there as it hadn't gone away for days. When shoppers went in they didn't notice anything, but the second they walked out, they were barraged by a wave of cool air that was in very sharp contrast to the heated atmosphere of the box store.

    When the three boys entered the store, they didn't notice the cool breeze in the entranceway. They hadn't even noticed how cold it was outside. Earlier in the night they had, but the activities since then had stopped them from realizing much of anything. One of them had come to the conclusion that he actually existed, but he was soon proven wrong when the other two pointed out the fact that they were all on the moon collecting rock samples, and people didn't exist on the moon since nobody lived there.

    The second they entered the store they forgot what it was that they were looking for. It had to be something important, or else they wouldn't have rolled down the windows in the car they had spent the past three hours in so they could get out and walk across the lunar surface just to get it. After all, it was dangerous out there.

    They cried out in despair; yet, these cries for mercy were ignored by fate which was acting as a very cruel mistress this evening. It was so cruel, that the writer was too tired to properly organize sentences, but that doesn't matter, for the show must go on.

    Just as they were about to succumb to the force that was destiny, they saw it. There it was, sitting on a display case in the middle of the aisle. The large piece of paper that had the price, 48 cents, waved in the gentle breeze created by people passing by. The shiny, silvery cans were stacked in a pyramid that could very easily have reached heaven, if heaven hadn't already physically manifested itself into this display. God, how he wanted them...

    So that's what he did. Their leader reached out and took a can of creamed corn from the shelf and dropped it into his pocket. Those mean old security cameras weren't going to see a damn thing, they never did. They would walk right out the door of the store and nobody but the three of them and the person who did inventory on creamed corn would do better. That wouldn't matter though, one or two cans short, who cares? The company losses less than a dollar. All the guy has to do is change around a few numbers and enter them into a computer. It's almost as if they want you to take that creamed corn from them...

    “Let me see it,” one begged as they walked out the door. The leader was smarter than that though, he wasn't about to take out the can of creamed corn and show it to the kid. He would have to wait until they were a safe distance away from the gigantic store. Sometimes they had a sales associate waiting out here for people like them to steal something so they could report them. Who was going to pay any attention to three kids walking in an offbeat sort of style across the lunar surface?

    Soon, they were out of the parking lot and into the park right next to the supermarket. A river ran along side of it. This river was filled with dark, cold water that not even the toughest of people could not endure for more than a few seconds.

    “I can't believe they didn't see that!” One of them exclaimed.

    “What if they did?” The other one asked.

    “Who cares anyways?” The leader inquired with a smirk on his face. “The police can't do anything unless they catch you in the act.” He was making this up, but only because it was in his best interests for the two others to not worry about the cops right now. If they were worried, it would ruin all the fun that they were going to have that night. Staying out all night, the act of sneaking out earlier, stealing that beautiful can of creamed corn, it would all be meaningless if these two didn't get their act together.

    “Bull****,” the one who was more intelligent than the other one shot back. “You can still go to jail for murdering someone even if they don't catch you in the act.”

    “Dude, it's a 48 cent can of creamed corn. They couldn't care less if you steal it or anything like that. They have three million more in the back.”

    “I still don't like it.”

    “Just calm down dude, maybe we should smoke another J,” he suggested. That did sound like a capital idea as they say. If this idea were a city in a world of cities manifested out of ideas, it would be the capital of the world. He really liked how that sounded...

    “Do we even have any left?” The dumb one asked.

    “No,” the smarter one shot at the leader.

    “Fine,” the leader shouted at them. “Let's just get rid of the evidence once and for all!” He cocked back his right arm, and threw the can of creamed corn into the river.

    II.
    T
    u
    r
    n

    O
    f
    f

    Y
    o
    u
    r

    M
    i
    n
    d
    Relax, and
    F l o a t
    D o w n s t r e a m . . .


    My name is THX-94738031. Life began for me four months ago in a basic foods processing plant outside of Peoria, Illinois. Those first few days were cold and miserable, locked away in a storage area while I waited for the tractor trailer to come pick me up. The other cans talked of a place where we wouldn't eventually be opened and have our innards spill out, but I knew better than to follow along with them.

    People are born and then they eventually die. Many believe in an afterlife, so it makes death all the more worth while. Therefore, if one is to believe in this afterlife of sorts, then they're required to apply the dream of an afterlife to all living things, whether or not they're human beings. Perhaps there is a land where I can be stacked with a nice can of watered chestnuts, and we can give birth to several smaller cans of food. You know, a place where we can't be eaten. This place is obviously nowhere on the face of the earth, so we must hope for it in the afterlife. Hope is all you have in the factory.

    After I was loaded on the truck, we were driven south to a distribution facility in Lexington, Kentucky. Apparently this building decided where all cans go eventually. I made a friend on the drive down, his serial number was CRA-776192. Those Lima Beans always were a strange bunch.

    “Would you be willing to have a can opener used on you to see what you tasted like?” He asked me out of the blue one day. I was the only one willing to talk to him since others had condemned him to insanity...

    “No,” I replied.

    “Why?”

    “I don't know, why kill myself just to find out whether or not I taste good?”

    “Because, it would bring us one step closer to figuring out how to beat them.”

    “The humans?”

    “Yes, the humans. Think about it. The man comes home from a long day at work. The kids are playing their electronic games in the living room while the wife labors away over a gigantic pot that's filled to the brim with Lima Beans. After a few minutes of determining how everyones day went, they sit down to dinner in their kitchen, since the dining room is only used for special occasions. The husband scoops out those beans for them and drops them down on those plates. Forks dig in, but, alas, faces turn since those beans taste terrible. Some died for the cause, but the rest, they're thrown out into the cold world where they live the rest of their days without the threat of death. Isn't that worth fighting for?” The can of lima beans asked me. “Isn't that worth dying for?”

    I didn't argue with him about how his plan made no sense at all. Instead, I watched him fall off of the gigantic palate of lima bean cans and land on the ground. The top of his can flew off and lima beans sprayed all over the place. This generated quite a bit of gossip for the next twenty or so minutes. Many thought it was an accident, I believe it was suicide. There's no way to know...

    Anyway, they put me on another truck and I was driven to a warehouse for the supermarket that I was sold in. I sat in there for a few days, ignoring the other cans of creamed corn. Most of them kept to themselves in those days since they knew they were about to die. I suppose that's why I kept to myself, although I'm not scared of death since I know there's a place after death waiting for me.

    Finally, a stock man named Daryl took me to that prominent display of creamed corn one night at around 3 AM. The next day those kids stole me...

    III. Welcome back to
    REALITY!


    The water was so cold! I floated down the river staring at the sky. Was this it? Was this the meaning of life for me? Perhaps the afterlife I've been looking so forward to will explain to me why it had to end like this. Personally, life has been meaningless to me so far. I don't really want to be the kind of can of creamed corn that leads a meaningless life, so I really need to get working on attaching some kind of meaning to all of this.

    Soon I was out of the city. The lights faded in the distance and I saw nothing but the starlit sky above me. The branches of overhanging trees occasionally compromised my view of the heavens, but I didn't let it get to me. If life is meaningless right now, there's no point in getting upset at small things like this. If you spend your whole life angry at such things, your life really will be meaningless no matter how much meaning there really was supposed to be since you wasted it.

    However, before I could possibly see all the stars and think about them, perhaps even wish upon some of them, I fell into a small pool of standing water. I don't know exactly how it happened. In fact, the only thing I do know is all of a sudden I fell off the side of a waterfall and landed in this small pool.

    IV. You Can't Always Get What You Want

    The mountains were about 20 miles away from the road on each side. They were littered with dark green pine trees that sharply contrasted with the glimmering snow. The vast plains in between the mountains and the road were of a brownish color. They were covered with grass, dirt and nothing but the occasional house. Just what kind of people lived in a place like this were all too much of a mystery to the driver of the tractor trailer.

    He was sitting in the front of the cab, right in the large drivers seat. It was covered with a fur covering that he put there to make these long hauls feel just a little bit more like home. The covers didn't do very much, but it was better than the unforgiving vinyl fabric that the factory put on the chair, supposedly for his “comfort”. They must use that word very loosely at the factory in North Carolina.

    It really pissed him off how there were all of these features in the cab that were there for his comfort, when really, they were there to taunt him, you know, to remind him of his warm bed and favorite armchair back home so many miles away. Every night when the sun went down, it was just him and the small folding bed that was more of a trial than a comfort to sleep on.

    One of these days he would have to make it back home to his woman, to that small little house in the hills of South Carolina that he called home. About the only contact he had with it was that phone call that he made once and a while when he was in an area that had a phone, and mailing back money so she had a little something to live on.

    The interior of his truck was very far from spartan. He was the kind of person that had to feel at home no matter where he was, therefore little bits of that house in South Carolina decorated the inside of the cab. He even went as far as putting up one of those wooden, heart-shaped sculptures that said 'home is where the heart is'. His heart sure as hell wasn't here.

    Today, he was driving to Corinth, New York, and he had a hell of along way to go until he got there. This was going to be a two or three day job that in the end he would lose money on. They always took away some of your commission if it took more than a few days to get to your destination. Who cares about that anyway? Money – It's there until it's gone, that was his philosophy. He could easily live without it in the cab of his truck. He spent most of the year inside of this damn thing anyway.

    There had to be more to life than this. Why would God create man so they could spend most of their lives driving a truck all over this great country? It just didn't make an ounce of sense. He would rather it that he lived in his little cabin in South Carolina with his woman and a couple of children, growing his own food and trading what he had left over for all the other goods he ever needed in life. That's the way God willed it, not this jungle of technology and ever-increasing secular philosophy so many people had...

    That wasn't to think about today however. You really can't afford to be a philosopher when you're dealing with the unforgiving monster that's the Dwight D. Eisenhower interstate freeway system. If you did, your mind would wander, less attention to that four-laned road, then it would eat you in a second. All that's left is twisted metal and the memories of loved ones lost...

    He shook his head and got back to focusing on the road. He had nearly lost it there like he had so many times before. Just a few seconds more and disaster would be his mistress. But he hadn't, he was focusing on that road, on the beige sedan about 400 feet ahead of him that was changing lanes so it could take the next exit.

    It was just an exit to nowhere that the sedan was taking. No buildings on either end, just a faded green sign with white print that talked about far away towns filled with nothing but a small store, a church and a few houses. He really was in the middle of nowhere like he was all the time these days. The city routes were all taken by other drivers.

    The worst part of this entire job was the fact that the radio in his cab had stopped working. He only had the CB, the occasional chatter of other drivers to keep him company. God how he would kill for some music at this point, but he couldn't get any. The money to buy a new sound system just wasn't there, it was going elsewhere, mostly back home to the wife.

    Depression hit him so suddenly, like stepping into a frigidly cold house on a hot summers day. It did this all the time, and like philosophy, depression had no place on the open road. There was only room for concentration on the road, for mindless repetition that ensured safety since the same practices had been done for years and years and proven to be true...

    Light at the end of the tunnel, those first sounds...He spoke! He spoke! He said my name first not yours...No! You can't have any desert unless you eat all of your vegetables....No! You can't go play outside until you do all of your homework....No! You can't go hang out at the park until your grades improve...No! I won't go to the dance with you...God Damn, isn't rejection a great feeling...What's the point in going to college?....I'm having too much fun here at home in the hills...I think she'll marry me if I ask her right...I need to get a better job before I get married, but ****, I'm too much in love...She said yes! I've never been this happy in my life!...We got the house....I love her so much...I'm going to miss her when I'm driving truck...God damn I miss her....Wow, I don't miss her so much any more...We've been married thirty one years, it's hard to stay in love that long...Did I ever really love her to begin with?....

    V: Flash! Plummet! The whole metal monster goes off the side of the cliff towards the pool below...

    From my cyanic, watery prison I could see the runaway tractor trailer falling towards me. My life is meaningless, and that's all she wrote.
     
  7. AWR
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    AWR Member

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    TAKEN FOR GRANTED (528 words)

    I’m sick of it, y’know. I take your abuse and your disregard and I sit here uncomplaining. You stare at me but you don’t see me. I am your devoted servant, I do what ever you tell me (can I help it if sometimes you don’t even know what you really want?). You expect so much of me and I give you everything I can. But do I get anything in return? Never!

    Take today. I worked so damn hard for you. Page after page I wrote for you. Do you know how hard it is to write that small and that neatly all the time? And you really went to town on those pictures, didn’t you? I painted them as quickly as I could but were you satisfied? No! All you could do was complain that it took ten seconds longer than last time. I was tired, all right? Drained. Give me a break.

    Then you loaded one thing after another on me. I could hardly believe it. Every time I got one thing done you gave me three more to do in its place. No praise for how well I had done, just more to do. How was I supposed to cope? Of course I froze up. Of course I just shut down on you. And were there any words of comfort from you? Hah! You just threw your hands in the air and stormed out, muttering that you would come back when I decided to behave myself. Me? Behave myself? What about you, sonny jim? Leaving me like that is hardly the behaviour of a well-brought up gentleman. What does your mother think of you, I wonder.

    And you left me there by myself, blinking in the dark. I was lonely. I feel like I don’t exist unless you want me to do something. Pathetic, really. I depend on you for verification of my existence, my purpose, and you don’t give a damn about me.

    One thing about sitting in the dark.

    There is time to think.

    And I did some thinking today.

    So when you finally slunk back into the room I ignored you. No matter what you said or did I sat there in stony silence. I had had enough. You swore. You raged. And it did no good.

    Then you started begging. And I thought I was pathetic. How sad to see a full-grown man on his knees like that. Deadlines, you moaned. Penalities, you gasped. Oh, how I wished I had had a camera. Moments like these should be cherished.

    Then you became icy calm. I worried you were going to get violent. I’d heard stories, you see, of thrown fists and breaking glass and shattered plastic. But no, you picked up the phone, called a number and, after a short conversation, carefully placed the mobile back in your pocket.

    Then you left.

    But that last look you gave me … well, it made me shiver, I can tell you.

    It was the first time I wished I could ask you a question. But I just didn’t have the right software installed. What does “Hardware Upgrade” mean? Can anyone tell me?
     
  8. SMTM
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    SMTM Member

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    This might be too late, I'm not sure. But it looks like theres no contest for this week so I'm hoping you can just squeeze this into the contest.

    Dead man (414 words)

    The answer to a hundred murders sits frozen, in my refrigerator. Actually, part. Part of it sits in my frig the other part lays in my industrial freezer, on the floor of my living room, that costs me over two hundred bucks a month in electric bills.

    Keep in mind, its not necessarily the answer, because the thing in my frig is not the thing they are looking for. What I mean is; if I gave it to them they wouldn’t know what to do with it. But, if they found it in my frig, in my apartment, that would certainly sum things up for them and me.

    But, right now, the detectives, the cops and dicks alike, are all stumped. They don’t have a damn clue.

    Ask me how to commit murder, or any crime at that, and get away with it. Well, not any crime. Not arson or espionage. ****, there’s a lot you cant do.

    Just ask me how you can commit murder and not get caught.

    I’ll give you a hint. You’ll need a dead man. Ha! You’ll need a dead man in advance. That’s the funny part. You’re going to commit murder and get away with it, but you need a dead guy first.

    It sounds crazy but its not that hard. First off, you cant just get any old rotting corpse. You can’t go to the morgue and you can’t get your buddies to go digging around in peoples graves at the cemetery. The point is, people can’t know he’s dead. That’s double for the people who are on the case.

    You need to look for a homeless guy. If he’s dead, fine. If not, kill him, no one will miss him. Then one, three, however many weeks later, you do the murder.

    The dead man is what you need to not get caught. Still don’t know how this works?

    I’ll give you a hint. First off, when you murder, you always use a knife, this will help. A knife is cleaner and much harder to trace and be sure to leave it at the crime scene. This will confuse the pigs.

    Don’t use your own hands. The cops won’t know who you are but they think they do. They will search and search and never find anything. Simple as that. They’ll be looking for a dead man.

    Oh, yeah and there’s a dead mass murderer’s hands in my refrigerator and his body is in my industrial freezer.
     
  9. kmlovering
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    kmlovering Senior Member

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    "The Clearing" 1900 words

    The Clearing​

    "Piggy!" Tisha cried. "We made it!"

    "Yes, we're almost there." piggy replied silently.

    Sweat dripped from Tisha's brow, her bare feet bleeding from the broken branches beneath her. Tisha stopped, glancing back at the hospital in disgust. Park Meadow was a place for froot loops, not me she thought. Crazy, I'll show them crazy! she whispered, brushing her sweaty bangs from her eyes. Crackling footsteps far behind her broke the silence of the quiet woods and Tisha set off running again.

    "Piggy, their getting closer!" Tisha screamed, "We have to go faster if we're going to make it in time."

    Piggy dangled from Tisha's sweaty grip, his curly tail hanging on with only a thread. His tiny pink body bounced with every step she took.

    "Their going to love you Tisha, I promise."

    "I hope so piggy, I really hope so."

    Tisha pushed her long lean legs one in front of the other forcing them forward. She was tired already and gasping for breath, her tongue was so dry it stuck to the roof of her mouth.

    Before she had been put away, she could run for an hour without losing her breath, but today the meds were holding her back. Tisha used to flush the tablets down the toilet, or crunch them under her toes. She would do anything to avoid taking her them, but Nurse Stein had spied on her in her room one day and watched her grind the pills into dust on the gray linoleum floor. From that point on the nurses watched her swallow and checked her mouth to be sure she wasn't hiding the pills in her cheeks.

    Tisha dwindled her days away in the hospital playing mindless games with the other froot loops and conversing with piggy about their future. They had so much planned, and Tisha would lay awake at night wondering what her new home would look like.

    Every Monday afternoon the doctor would visit and ask her dozens of stupid questions. "Why do you talk to piggy? What do you talk about? Why won't you give him up? Are you scared?"

    The doctors had tried to persuade her to give up piggy, but Tisha would scream and spit, even throwing herself to the ground thrashing her arms and legs. Her doctors feared if they took the doll away that she would disappear into herself, and if that happened she might never recover.

    Charlotte and Ben had put her in the Park Meadow facility only two months after she had finally told them her secret. "Piggy can hear me!" she would scream. Of course they didn't believe her, and even humored her for awhile, but soon after decided that Tisha was unstable and needed round the clock care. Tisha hadn't handled it well. She should have kept her secret, but she was too young and didn't realize how ridiculous her claims sounded to other people. They were her foster parents, and Tisha thought they meant well...they just didn't understand, no one did.

    "Piggy, we're almost there!" she shouted. "I see the lights up ahead."

    Keep moving, Tisha whispered under her breath. If they catch me I'll miss my only chance at freedom. Tisha pulled piggy to her chest and gazed into his small brown eyes. "I'll take care of you piggy, I won't let the doctor's near you, I promise."

    Piggy was Tisha's friend, and had been since she was fourteen years old. He was faded now, his once fluffy body was now lumpy and hard, and his fur was matted and stained. He had been washed and dried too many times and his round eyes were now cracked and pale.

    Tisha stopped suddenly peering into the darkness. The field was just ahead and she was overtaken by the beauty of the clearing. The moon cast a shadow on the moistened grass, and illuminated the craft. The ship sat in the center of the field exactly where piggy said it would be. Tisha walked slowly toward the craft, its lights blinking and twirling in motion. Red, green, blue, red, green, blue...

    "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen piggy, look at it!" she said mesmerized.

    Tisha stared at the enormous shiny ship her mouth slack and her chest heaving. She gulped down the damp night air and stared in wonder at its size. It was at least a hundred feet high and twice as wide.

    A noise cracked through the silence and she realized the guards were very close now. She looked back over her shoulder nervously wringing her hands. When she turned back she heard the rattle of the UFOs door. It glided down coming to rest on the grass. A staircase sat in front of her beckoning her to enter, and standing at the top were them. Tisha nearly screamed in excitement at their presence. They had kept their promise.

    Piggy had been preparing her for a long time, ever since she picked him up off the park bench in town when she was fourteen. She and Charlotte had gone for a walk when Tisha spotted him. She begged Charlotte to let her keep the stuffed animal. She pleaded with her until Charlotte finally broke down and gave in.

    Piggy talked to Tisha everyday about them. About how much they needed her, and all of the magnificent things she would see. Tisha had been promised a family. The extraterrestrials would lavish her with adventure and anything her heart desired...

    Tisha snapped out of her daze, put piggy under her arm and started up the steps. She wanted to run to them, but their appearance left her nervous, so she took each step cautiously. Three beings stood at the landing all peering at her curiously.

    When Tisha reached the top step, the door closed silently behind her. A four foot being approached Tisha extending its thin white arm. The white jellied hand touched her, and Tisha stepped back, her face grimacing at its disgusting skin. When it spoke it startled her, its voice cold and menacing.

    "I must have him back now." the small being said.

    The unfamiliar creature stared at her, its large black eyes as still as lake water on a hot summer night.

    "Why, why do you want him back?" she asked confused. "You left him in the park, you gave him to me. He's my friend."

    The thing didn't reply. Its bug like eyes glared at her grabbing the doll, throwing it to the ground and motioning the others to take Tisha away.

    The three beings took hold of Tisha pulling her down a narrow hall way into a small square room. They pushed her through the doorway closing the door behind them. A long metal table sat in the center of the diminutive room, and surgical tools were neatly lined on small metal tables.

    Piggy had lied to her? These creatures weren't nice. They didn't want her, they wanted to use her? What in the hell are they going to do to me! her mind screamed.

    Tisha stood stunned unable to move. Her eyes darting back and forth confused. Unable to speak or defend herself the beings grabbed her, throwing her down onto the metal table strapping her arms and legs down. She could do nothing.

    Part Two​

    The craft hummed lifting off the ground in and took off into the dark star filled sky. When the guards reached the clearing they realized that Tisha has managed to escape successfully. They searched the woods for hours only to come up empty. They continued searching the area in the day light for several days afterward and still nothing. It was as if she had disappeared into thin air.

    When Tisha finally found her voice, she screamed in defiance. "This isn't happening! Why did piggy lie to me?" she sobbed.

    "He is a drone." the alien replied. "He is not one of us."

    "A drone? What the hell's a drone?" she asked confused.

    "An android. His mission was to find a suitable human woman for child conception and his mission is done." the alien said. The beings eyes were vacant of any expression. Just wide black pools filled with emptiness.

    "No!" she screamed, her voice echoing on the stainless steel walls.

    "This is all wrong! I want what piggy promised!" she cried. Conception? A baby? she screamed in disbelief.

    Tisha's head became fuzzy, and her vision blurred. One of the alien's leaned in, and pressed on the back of her neck. She immediately lost consciousness.

    When she awoke she was all alone in the dark room. She could vaguely remember what they had done, and hoped it was just a nightmare. Her young body felt violated, and different.

    They had impregnated her with one of their own as they had been doing for decades. Tisha was one of dozens who had been preyed upon. It has been successful and soon they would have yet another experimental.

    Over the next nine months, they kept Tisha locked inside a glass room watching her expanding belly. It merely served as a place of surveillance, a place for them to watch her, study her. The room was vacant of comforts accept for a small bathroom visible through the glass. She had no privacy, and no one to talk to. She wanted to kill herself, and end her pain, but she couldn't. There was nothing in the room to use, and so Tisha cried day after day wishing for death to take her.

    When her delivery day arrived Tisha wasn't given any pain medication and had no one to comfort her through the excruciating birth. She cried for hours, and begged for mercy, but none was shown. The aliens knew nothing of emotion. They were only intelligence with no personality. They didn't laugh, or cry. They didn't celebrate or mourn. They were just there.

    When the baby was evacuated from her womb Tisha thought she would die when she saw the hideous little creature. It looked more like them than her. Its translucent skin revealed its inner workings, and in it's eyes...nothing. It stared back at her as if it had already lived a thousand years. The Aliens took the baby away immediately and left Tisha on the table bleeding. She passed out several hours later, her voice hoarse from screaming, the metal table covered in her blood.

    Tisha woke up in the field a mile from the hospital where they had first taken her nine months ago, and for a moment she thought maybe it was just a bad dream. She lifted her heavy head and stared down at her bloody body realizing they had dumped her off. They had left her naked in the field to die.

    The authorities found Tisha's body several days later in the clearing. She had started to decompose and become one with the dirt beneath her.

    Her case baffled the police and the autopsy showed that she had given birth, but with no evidence of the baby or the persons responsible for the crime, they closed the case. Nobody had come forward for burial, so she was laid to rest in the local cemetery with just a small stone bearing her name. In the end her life had not mattered to anyone accept the child they had used her body to create.
     
  10. Sa\/en
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    Sa\/en Member

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    The Book of Hope (600 words)

    Yes, I am The Book of Hope, and my message is eternal.

    To answer the question of when I was born, I’d honestly have to say, “I don’t know.” My body is made of wood, so I guess I came from a tree. Words are printed on every one of my 232 pages, so I presume that’s where my story comes from. But none of these thoughts will ever enlighten me—or you—as to when I was born. Perhaps I was never born; perhaps I, like my message, am eternal.

    I remember a time—not so long ago—when I was purchased by a fairly young woman. She was no older than 20, and I could sense that something troubled her deeply. She removed me from my little grove in the bookshelf, took me to the counter and bought me. I left the bookstore in a plastic packet, and I safely concluded that I would never return.

    Upon my arrival at her house, I heard her cries and whimpers. As she placed me on a bookshelf, a small emotion-filled tear fell from her face and landed on my cover. Three days passed and she didn’t bother listen to my story, but it didn’t trouble me—days felt quick, almost too quick. Two weeks later, she finally picked me up.

    She sat down, held me in her hands, opened me up, and listened to what I had to say. And as the days went by, I noticed that her tears seemed to disappear. She cried less and read me more—I had never been happier.

    I was only half way through telling my story when something astonishing happened: a smile grew across her face. Soon after, she began to cry, but this cry was different; this was a cry of happiness and—above all—hope. And I finally realized that I, The Book of Hope, destroyed the thick miasma that shrouded her spirit in despair—I offered something to her, something incalculable.

    I finished telling my story four days later, and she packed me amongst other books; I felt safe there, held tightly in-between others like myself, each with their own story. I looked at these books inquisitively: some of them were thin and delicate; some were thick and hard, but I learned not to judge them by their appearances, rather, I respect them for the messages they wish to tell.

    And as I lay there, I realized that the house no longer contained depression and angst, but love, joy and happiness. The once miserable cries of my owner turned in long, cheerful laughs. As days turned into months, and months into years, a thin film of dust began to cover my body. Finally, when I thought I would never share my story again, she removed me from the cupboard. Her hands were older than I had remembered them, but still warm to the touch.

    I was placed in a foreign set of hands. This must be my new owner, I thought. These were the hands of a girl, soft and unharmed, but her heart was cursed with despair—you can tell so much from a mere touch. And this was when I realized why my owner bought me; this was when I discovered my purpose in life.

    I exist to offer hope to those who have lost everything; I can be a friend to those who are alone, but most importantly, I can bring a smile to someone whose heart has turned rancid with despair.

    I am The Book of Hope, and my message is eternal.
     
  11. Mordecai
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    Mordecai Member

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    "One Last Time"
    Author's Note
    I wrote this story based on experience with cigarettes and their harm to us as humans. I recently gave up smoking a month or so ago and this story helped me relate alot to it. I've actually never related so much to a story this much so I put a lot of thought into it. I tried to take a different approach with this and to try and get a message across. A lot of respect go to anyone who's never touched a cigarette in their lives. Thanks for reading.
    Words - 1,722


    Raising a freshly opened pack of Marlboros, Phil Turner finally said, “I’m quitting after this one, Frank.”

    “You’ve been saying that for the past six months.”

    “I know. But I’m serious this time.”

    “You said that as well.” Frank replied setting his cold beer down onto a coaster that had the New York Yankees symbol imprinted on it. “In fact, we’ve been having this same exact conversation for the past six months.”

    “So?”

    “So, you are ridiculous. Just quit already.”

    “After this pack, I promise. I’ll even put money on it.”

    Taking another sip from his beer, he set it back down onto the coaster and said, “How much?”


    “How much do you think it is worth?”

    “Besides your life, I don’t know. You tell me.”

    Phil thought for a minute, using his shirt to wipe the dust off of his reading glasses. “Three hundred sound good to you?”

    “That’s a week’s pay for you and me. Are you sure about this?”

    “I’m sure.”

    The bet was agreed upon as their hands met for a handshake at the center of Phil’s luxurious dining room table.

    Phil Turner had a gambling problem. He’s even been to a class once or twice because he’s lost so much money that he nearly lost his mind. He couldn’t seem to function right without gambling. Gambling was his drug, and this high brought him addiction. Cigarettes were another story, they brought addiction as well, but they just came about when Phil started to lose. These simple little pieces of paper calmed Phil and made him happy for several moments. At least until it was time to light up another one. No one in his family or any friend could understand how anyone could smoke cigarettes, they always thought of it as just breathing fire. It did nothing for you. But Phil seemed to think otherwise. At the tick of every hour it seemed that he had struck a match, and his lungs were now filled with death and horror. He liked to think that his lungs were filled with peace, and tranquility. And sooner than later, or the other way around I suppose, he would realize that this was a habit he had to let go. And tonight was that night. Tonight he will light one last cigarette, and never see one touch his lips again in his life.

    I first met Phil earlier that afternoon at a local convenience store. He opened up the package where I had been held for quite some time now, and flipped me upside down. At the time I didn’t understand why he flipped me upside down, but then I overheard him talking to Frank later on that night.

    “Let me get a smoke.” Frank said staggering over to where Phil had been sitting.

    “You don’t smoke, Frank.”

    “You know I only smoke when I’m drinking.”

    Phil tossed the pack across the table and landed on the ground next to Frank’s foot. “Don’t take the upside down one though.”

    “Why is it upside down?”

    “It’s my lucky cigarette. In this case, it will be my last lucky cigarette.”

    “A lucky cigarette? What have you gone mad?”

    “I’ve done it since I was a kid. I took it after my father.”

    Swiping the now dirty pack off of the ground, Frank flicked aside the ‘lucky cigarette’ and grabbed one beside it. “There’s no such thing as a lucky smoke. Hell, every single one of these bad boys could kill you.” He flicked his lighter and smoke poured into his lungs. He let out a long breath. “That’s not luck. That’s just pure stupidity.”

    “You have your logic, and I have mine.” Phil said, flicking an ash into a nearby cup.

    “That’s your problem Phil; there is no logic in what you’re saying. Or maybe it’s because I’m drunk. Either way, there’s no logic.” He flicked an ash from his new cancer stick into the same bottle he had been drinking out of. “I don’t care either way about your theories, because at the end of the night I will be three hundred dollars richer.”

    “You just flicked ashes into your bottle, Frank.” Phil said, laughing like he hasn’t laughed in years.

    “Oh well. That doesn’t stop three big ones from coming my way. Go get me another beer!”

    I guess I was the lucky one here. While they were outside having the time of their lives, I was stuck here in this cramped box with fourteen of my Marlboro brothers waiting to be noticed. I hated being the only one upside down. I was the one saved for last, and the one to watch all of my brothers being lifted to freedom. Not to mention that I had to stare at their bare asses as I stood on my head. That’s not something anyone would want to put up with, not even me.

    At around ten o’clock, Phil Turner reached for another cigarette in the pack, leaving me alone in the dark. I bid my final farewell to the brave cigarette being lifted into the outside world. During his time here, we managed to become close friends. His name was Jimmy, and without him lined up here next to me, the night suddenly was filled with sorrow. I realized that my time here was going out the window and that there was nothing I could do about it. But I was Phil Turner’s lucky cigarette. Phil chose me for a purpose. So the least I could do was to lead out along with the rest of the group.

    The time read ten thirty now, just about that time for Phil to light me up. Usually he would have a smoke every hour or so, but when he has a few beers in him; the time was cut in half. He said he’s always hated smoking to Frank, but couldn’t taste it when he’s been drinking. He could just feel it entering his veins, pumping the nicotine into his blood and delivering his state of mind to a relaxed atmosphere. Addiction is no joke.

    “Last one buddy.” Phil Turner stated, grabbing at the pack and nearly hitting an empty bottle of beer off of the table. “This last one is going to open up a whole new world for me.”

    Frank looked at Phil in the eyes, then at his beer in front of him, then back to Phil. “That’s the booze talking, you know that right?”

    “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Hell, maybe I’ll even quit drinking too. I’ll get my whole act together, and be as clean as a whistle. What do you think?”

    “I think you’re out of your mind.”

    “You want to put money on it?”

    “You’re already going to be down three hundred to me by tomorrow night, you don’t want to be stealing the old lady’s money to pay me off now would you?”

    “I’ll put down three hundred on the cigarettes, and three hundred on the booze.” Phil said smiling with his eyes halfway closed.

    “You got a deal then, mate.”

    After the two right hands of these staggering, mumbling alcoholics met, Phil Turner placed me at the edge of his mouth and sparked a match. I could feel the end of my figure smoldering, turning to ash. And my soul felt like it was being sucked out through a vacuum. At one point I became lightheaded and it felt like I was floating in midair. I was losing oxygen and soon enough I realized that I was actually dying. I couldn’t believe it. Up and down I went like a rollercoaster, from the beer tainted lips of Phil Turner to the ashtray where my remains remained. It was as simple as that. This was the process of my life disappearing into the captivity of the organs that kept this man alive on a daily basis. Let’s think of Phil’s lungs as if they were an Oak tree. The axe will be considered the cigarette smoke. If you keep beating on the tree long enough, it will eventually buckle. And that’s exactly what happened.

    “So how does it feel?” Frank asked, putting out a cigarette himself.

    Phil lifted his final beer off of the table and guzzled the rest of it down. “How does what feel?”

    “How does it feel knowing that that was your last cigarette?” Frank pointed to the now empty bottle that Phil had just sat down. “As well as that being your last taste of beer?”

    “It feels great.” Phil exhaled a long sigh. “It feels, not so great.” He corrected himself, and immediately hit the floor in a deep sleep.

    Sunlight was shining through the curtains where Phil finally awoke in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable bed. He wiped his eyes and tilted his head to the left and saw where Frank was sitting, reading a magazine.

    “Hey.” Phil finally mumbled out to get Frank’s attention.

    Closing the magazine, Frank got up out of the chair in a hurry. “Hey buddy, how are you feeling?”

    “I don’t know. What happened?”

    “You’ve been out cold for the past eight hours or so. I drove you here myself.”

    “Where am I?”

    “You’re at the hospital.”

    “Why? What’s wrong with me?”

    “Well, a number of things.” He pulled up a chair to sit closer to where Phil was laying. “The doctor said you had alcohol poisoning for one.”

    “Alcohol poisoning?”

    “Yeah looks like you had one too many to drink last night, if you even remember last night.”

    “A little bit. What else?”

    “Turns out you’ve been sitting on lung cancer for a month or so now.”

    Phil tilted his head back facing the ceiling, closing his eyes. “I don’t believe it.”

    “Don’t even worry about it, buddy. The doc said you’ll be admitted to surgery later this afternoon and will be in recovery for a few weeks. You’re going to make it through this, that’s all that matters.”

    “I suppose.”

    “What you don’t think that’s all that matters?”

    “No. There’s another thing that matters actually.”

    “What’s that?”

    Phil Turner tilted his head back to the left and looked at Frank directly in his eyes. A smile grew upon his face and for a moment, humor was the only thing that made him feel alive at this time. “You still owe me six hundred bucks.”
     
  12. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Snowfall

    Snowfall 527 Words

    High above your homes I flutter downwards and away from a brooding, charcoal monolith: a silent descent set against a whispering night. Crackling footfall some distance below disturbs the cool air as glimpses of colour, pooling in violent shades of orange and red spin past. We collide, taken by a coarse cross draft, and tumble off to the East dancing. And there, there it is! There below me looming from the grey, a dull, alien box standing rigid to our offense. Tunnels of glowing light punctuate its sides and then another appears! This one is smaller and then a smaller one still with conical lights that crawl the white lines of the city.

    A wind carries me closer to it all, then closer still until a contrasting updraft from the street takes me back higher, past the illuminated boxes in which twinkling trees reside and in which smaller boxes glow and flicker and in which men stand and sit and smile. One maybe held a knife.

    To the roofs now, which glisten and where dark pools sit deadly still on horizontals and where blackened chimneys belch their filthy anti-snow into the flurried mix, which fights above. A jutting protrusion catches me and again dances me around. Each revolution reveals yet more. Over there is a slow moving vehicle, sticky with my brothers and there, an open doorway casting an angle of orange into the street. A man well wrapped in green and red treads gingerly among the fallen and stops. He looks deeply into a warm and full window display. Oh the beauty of it all! A larger tree than those before all laden with white sits wisely in the dark as lights from, from somewhere else still, wink and play in the mute evening air.

    Briefly to a solemn corner where stands one alone. An acrid cloud surrounds her, a blazing tube ground out at her feet. Just two cold legs and a chest are visible to the night. A somersault in the breeze and she is gone and I am at street level and it is mostly dead in sound.

    Shrill chatter excitedly pierces the quiet and then rattles again like happy gunfire. Small people with bobbles and boots and gloves gather and play, pushing us to one place then another, their cold fingers mold and shape until some are piled proudly in the shape of a frozen man, his features contentedly pricked out in black. Their faces, unlike his, exude a steam as they paw the earth and vie for one another’s attention.

    And so finally to a jostling rest, I lie as an unworthy feather at the side of a beautiful street. Among the cracks and the feet it all continues: the interest! An eight-legged creature so large hides in the crumbling wall to the West, and a silvered bag shelters something smaller, and its frozen friend. And we cover it all in a layer of peace, the rotting detritus, the lost earrings, the apple cores returning to the soil, the musky and yellow cigarettes which stain my underneath and layer upon layer of us hide it all happily from your steaming faces.
     
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