e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70

    Creative Writing Exercise: What Happened Here?

     

    It’s time for some writing practice. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you need to exercise your creativity.

    What is the story behind this image?

    Can you come up with a mini-story of not more than 350 words?

    Here’s how it works:

    • We set the scene
    • You make it your own, and
    • Share your creation in the comments section of this post

     Now for the ground rules:

    • Your story must be 350 words or less.
    • WTD provides an encouraging and safe environment for writers to grow and learn from each other. We’d love you to comment on other people’s submissions in a friendly and supportive manner.

    This writing practice will kickstart your creativity!

    Can you weave an interesting story around this image in 350 words or less?

    I can’t wait to read what you come up with, so please copy your story into the comments section of this post.

    Oh, and have you joined the Great Writing Challenge 2016 yet? It’s not too late! Click here and add a comment to join over 500 other participants.

    About the author:
    Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at Write to Done. Grab her FREE report How to Write Like an A-List Blogger

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab her latest all new course Blogwriter's Bootcamp 2.0 or a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Ashlyn says:

      It was a forbididen love. Secret, life threatening.
      Elle, a young maid, stood by the large window in the Dutchess’s room. She leaned her back against the silk curtains, no doubt getting soot from the fireplace against the priceless furniture. She held the duster in hand, a damp cloth in the other. Elle was entranced by the outside world, and this was the only way she could see it.
      She was the daughter of two peasants, which meant she should be living a free life outside the ancient walls of the castle. But when she was a toddler, her father, a poor farmer, refused to give his crops away, as his family was already struggling with food. As punishment, the King had Elle’s finger removed publicly, and forced her to come and become a servant.
      Outside the window, Elle watched as the young stable boy, her love, trudged through the muddy hay. Through the faded straw hat, she could see his eyes, weary, yet alive with spirit. She longed for the following night, everyday, after Evan was released from duty, and Elle was done with daily chores and other dreaded tasks, Evan climbed up the tree outside her window, and Elle would already have the window open for him. He would climb in, and they would have time where they sat close, not saying anything. Just looking at each other, Elle thought.
      The door opened and Elle jumped. The Queen, paraded into the room.
      “How dare you!” The Queen shrieked.
      “Oh, I’m so sorry, your Royal Highness!” Elle whimpered.
      “What are you doing in here?”
      “I was just watching-..”
      The Queen came up to Elle, and looked out the window.
      “What were you watching?” The Queen said, almost in a kind manner.
      “The.. I was watching the..” Elle lost her trail of thought.
      “The stable boy?” The Queen laughed mockingly.
      “Yes.”
      “I’ll let you go, on one condition.”
      Elle shot a worried glance torwards the Queen.
      “That boy has been causing me trouble. You get rid of him tonight, and your life will be spared.”
      Elle’s eyes grew to the size of saucers.
      “You don’t, and you will die.”
      The Queen handed her a knife.

    • Tom Schlack says:

      Invigorating images leaped from scene too scene as I bewildered at the stories unfold on the back of my eyelids. What a place to escape too from the encapsulating thoughts coursing through my sober mind.
      As my eyes shifted in hopes to regain consciousness, a lingering siren of despair and agony weighed heavy. My arms ached as I pried them from the cold hard floor in which they seemed too have found refuge, only to seek out the glistening beer bottle that lay at my side. Empty. To no surprise! The alcohol oh how it numbs the residing demons, the bills, the weight of the world.
      A loyal companion I would label it! There, in times of desperation, but deceiving in all the aspects!
      I should get up. I should get my life together….. I tell myself only to find my demons suffocating my conscious, fading into darkness

    • Katelyn Schlefke says:

      It was just a normal day. You were walking through your house in broad daylight. What are the odds that you were chosen out of everyone in your town? And besides, they usually strike at night…

      They’re getting more ambitious, and you knew that was dangerous, but somehow, you always feel safe in your own home, no matter how false the feeling.

      This room has always been your safe place- there was no reason to worry about attacks! But today, all bets were off.

      It only took one moment of carelessness on your part– and one second of quick thinking on their part– and poof! A life snuffed out! The worst part is… Now that you’re dead you can’t tell the police that the murderer is your own daughter…

    • Finished at last. Thomas was satisfied with his latest challenge.

    • vritika says:

      I opened the door and saw him lying dead on the floor. He was lying there, on the floor, as still as a statue. I panicked and rushed to rescue him. I was almost in tears as I called the ambulance. He meant everything to me. My parents, my best friend and my brother. After the death of my parents he was the one who took care of me, provided me with all the happiness and never made me miss my parents. He was the world for me.
      All the memories of happy times and sad times from past were flashing in front of my eyes when I felt some movement. I felt the movement of his hand. Slowly he tried to open his eyes. He wanted to say something but soon felt unconscious again. As I was about to call the hospital again I heard the doorbell. I knew that the ambulance had arrived and rushed to open the door. He was carried to the ambulance in a stretcher. I accompanied them too and soon we reached to the hospital. The doctor informed me that he was given a drug which could have been fatal to his life. They gave him medicines, and he was out of danger.
      The doctors allowed me to talk to him for some time. He was looking pale and weak. He told me about the last night in the pub. He went there with his friends. All were drinking and dancing. He was sitting in the corner when his friend joined him and invited him for a drink. At first he refused coz he never used to drink but when his other friends insisted too then he agreed. After one drink he had another and another and he got so drunk that he didn’t knew what he was doing. He was out of his senses and then didn’t remember what happened next and how he landed up home with that bottle. after investigation we came to know about the drug racket that was being carried out in that pub. From that day he promised me that he will never and ever ‘DRINK’. This was his FIRST and LAST experience of drinking.

    • Sharon Brady-Browne says:

      It’s Hot Down Here

      “James sure was cute, but I never thought he was that smart”.

      Alexa and Susan silently reviewed the displayed balance of their savings accounts. Big fat zeros flashed back at them from the computer screen.

      “Time wounds all heels?” Alexa wondered hopefully.

      James unlocked the door to his tiny apartment and walked in. “Tomorrow”, he promised himself. “I’m outa here. Avoid unpleasant scenes. Gonna buy the flashiest car and the biggest penthouse in …Somewhere Else. Not here. Anywhere but this hick town. Talk about gullible people!”

      He sat down in his purple easy chair and gulped back a beer. “Alexa”, he toasted her with his bottle. “Thanks for giving me this ugly, chair”, he sneered. He opened another beer and began to sip. The walls of his admittedly small apartment appeared to be closing in. He quickly finished the rest of his beer and got another. The air was getting warmer. He took off his socks and shoes.

      He drank another beer. The walls seem to close in further. “Shit, I must be tired. I need another drink.” The walls had narrowed to a large hallway. “I’m drunk, he thought, walls don’t move.” It was getting hotter. He stripped off his shirt, then stashed shirt, socks and shoes behind the chair. He went to the fridge to exchange his empty bottle for another full one. He carefully put the empties back in the fridge.

      As he finished his sixth beer he began to feel drowsy, as well as extremely warm. He lay down on the carpet. “Just rest a minute”, his fuzzy brain told him. He passed out. The room got warmer and warmer. As James slept on, the walls continued their inexorable inward slide.

      He lay there, bare feet exposed, pink heels prominently displayed.

    • SCO says:

      Brad’s Day Off

      Brad has a very rigid morning routine. Wake up at 5:30 a.m., run 2 miles, shower, shave, change clothes, eat breakfast, and get to work by 7:00 a.m. This has been Brad’s routine for 3 years since he graduated college. He had a plan. Climb the corporate ladder and make as much money as he could on the way up. There wasn’t time for fun and games. Work consumed Brad. If he wanted to make CFO before 30, he had to work hard.
      Today was different. Brad woke up at 12:00 p.m. He did not take his morning run. He didn’t shower, shave, or change his clothes. He heated up some leftover pizza and sat on the floor staring at his TV.

      Suddenly there is a knock on his door. Brad opens the door to see his attractive neighbor Sara looking frantically at him. She started screaming that her Yorkie named Stella ran out of her apartment, and she needs help finding the dog. Brad couldn’t say no so he took off his pajama pants, put on his jeans and flip flops and ran out the door. They both ran up and down the street searching for Stella. Brad saw who he thought was Stella sniffing around a bakery across the street from the apartment. He called out to Stella but Stella started running. Brad kicked off his flip flops to run after the dog and the chase began. It took 30 mins for Brad to corner the dog, and for Sara to bribe the dog into her arms.

      After getting back to Sara’s apartment, Sara offered Brad a bottled cola which he accepted. She asked him to stay with her for a while, but Brad declined saying he would like to change his clothes. He took the cola and went back to his apartment. Once home, Brad looked at the pink slip on his kitchen counter which he received yesterday, drank the cola, took a couple of sleeping pills and a couple of Tylenol for his aching feet and passed out on the floor.

    • coey1441 says:

      That’s weird.
      I feel consciousness tugging at me as I continue my fast journey to reality. But that’s not the only thing tugging at me; confusion hits me just as hard. Because I could have sworn that I got rid of this carpet my face was currently pressed against.
      Not even just the carpet; I had gotten rid of the whole room. Well, I don’t know if it’s exactly accurate to say that I got rid of it when it was taken from me.
      But that’s what happens when you get kicked out of college.
      I keep my eyes shut tight, still caught in that dazed state in between reality. Because this couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t be back in my dorm. That was six years ago. I know where I am supposed to be right now: right where I last remember I was. Sitting in a jail cell, holding onto the remains of my pride as I faced murder charges. For the murder of the man who was the reason I was kicked out of my school and the reason my life spun quickly out of control. The man who, in one conversation, destroyed me. And I sat there, staring at those rusting metal bars, and I wished for the first time that that conversation could have gone a little differently.
      This couldn’t be happening. I can’t do this all over again.
      But I’d been passed out against this carpet so many times I could never mistake these plastic fibers against my skin for anywhere else.
      And I’d heard that familiar squeak of the door as it opened and the rough voice of that same man that I just killed as he said, “Get up, Ethan. We have something to discuss.”
      I opened one eye and slowly met his, knowing that there was no way I could let this conversation go the way the last one had. If this was real, if this was really a miracle second chance… I couldn’t let this go the way it did the last time.
      Because the last time…
      The last time made me kill him.

    • Miguel O. says:

      Mr White 290 words
      White. White is his nickname. It is also his obsession. It can be said to have Obsessive compulsive disorder. His whole house is white, all pool be at home has that color wrong way it works around the house of his white computer on top of his white secretary. All the pills are white. Is the help he needs in order to leave home and be tolerable be out to make his life, go shopping or just stretch legs, he was no longer going to be skinny, the doctor recommended to take a stroll every day and the miraculous pill in tests that temporarily suspended their obsession with white, was just simple tic-tacs. The doctor also recommended medicinal marijuana. What he does not know is that anything can be addictive white exaggerates. Then buy marijuana with doctor’s prescription and a white bongo, the night promised to be lively. After dinner, we decided to try: a mind-blowing trip. Most wanted dose and then increased further and the next until no. Its psychedelic journey was becoming frightening, all the images had no white and he took their tic tacs to the placebo effect make their thing. Still overwhelmed with the grass of the mocha was the fridge seek vodka. Drank half a bottle of alcohol once and returned to his white room. Was so staggering that tripped, the bottle fell to the floor and smashed to the ground, as he was unbalanced round fell on the floor. A piece of the bottle pierced the carotid. Certainly the coroner in charge of the situation would not have problems in establishing the cause of death …

    • El says:

      Tom entered the house with the bottle in his hand. Where every room every corner
      just reminded him of her and the day he wish he could forget but he still remember very well.
      He decided to go to the living room where he saw alot of pictures in frames of them together People always to told him that he is young and handsome and that he could get a girl who is so much better than her ,and that in fact he could get any girl he wants but they don’t understand That he loved her so much and he still loves her.
      He grabbed the nearest picture which they took in that day they were sitting in the couch smiling they seemed so happy and so in love and he could not help but go back in time to that day.
      “what restaurant we should go to tonight?” tom asked while he entered the kitchen.
      “tom there is something i want to talk to you about.” liz said.
      “what’s wrong?’ he asked.
      “i just can’t do this anymore.” she said.
      He looked confused so she started talking again
      “i just can’t be with you anymore i can not pretend that i’m happy anymore i just can’t do it anymore i hope you understand.” and those were the last words she said before she left the house and it was the last thing tom could remember before feeling the room spining around and before he knew it he was on the ground and the last thing he saw in blurry vision a broken frame of a happy picture.

    • Aleta K says:

      What Happened Here? 347 words

      “Credentials?” Andy screamed into the phone. “You want credentials? I’ll show you credentials. Get your butt over here and you’ll see for yourself. “He hurled the television across the room. Better the television than the cell phone, he thought. He had been working this case for months. Now the senior detective on the case was questioning his abilities as a private investigator?
      The Jenkins family had hired him to figure out how their beloved son and brother, Sean, had ended up dead, and his death being ruled a suicide. They just knew he had not killed himself.
      Andy’s pacing stopped as he went to answer the door. Detective Brian Duncan strode through the door and saw the body on the floor. “What is this? Who’s that on the floor? What have you done?” The questions came without a breath in between.
      “That is the position Sean’s body was in when he was found. Notice the proximity of the gun. Sure it looks like a suicide, but did anyone bother to look beyond the obvious? Did anyone listen to or read the ME’s report? I guarantee you they didn’t.” He huffed out a breath before continuing.

    • Debra Lobel says:

      The Arguement

      “I’m sorry we had an argument,” I said to the detective. “But I didn’t kill him. I love my husband. I loved him.”

      The interrogation room was heated, but I felt a cold chill just thinking about last night.

      “What else can you tell us, Mrs. Novak?” asked the detective.

      “Just like I told the lady cop,” I said as the tears started to fall. “I thought he went into the spare bedroom to sleep. Around 11, I heard a noise downstairs. I called out for Jeff but he didn’t answer. I went looking for him and found him in my writing room.”

      I could still see the image in my head. He was sitting in my sacred space, my writing room. It was a small, narrow area that I had painted white to make it feel bigger. I kept a small fridge in there for snacks and a microwave to make coffee. I loved to sit in my favorite purple chair to read and write stories in my notebooks. Sometimes I read to my trolls who sat on the filing cabinet, guarding everything I have ever written.

      I snapped out of my reverie when the detective asked “What happened next?”

      “I found him on the floor,” I said sobbing. “He was in his jeans with no shirt, socks or shoes. I didn’t walk in the room because I thought he had passed out – again. I left him there and went back to bed.”

      “Would you like to take a break?” asked the detective.

      “Yes, please.”

      I easily stopped crying and sobbing when the he left the room. I thought about Jeff, how he always criticized my stories when he drank, saying I’d never be a writer. I was surprised that the beer bottle didn’t break when I hit him over the head with it. That son of a bitch jerk got what he deserved.

    • Kingston Blackburn says:

      Everyday was the same for him; Work, bar, cab, cabbies dropped him off at his door step, he stumbled into his small apartment, and fell to the floor and the next day, Work, Bar, Cab, Cabbies dropped him off at his door step and he stumbled into his small apartment, and feel on the floor and again and again. Though this time it was different. As he laid there on the cool rough and itch surface of his carpet in his small apartment, he questioned his own life, his drunken eyes that made his head hurt due to the spins but he couldn’t bare to open his eyes, because if he did he’d see once again the reality of his life. He was accustomed to it. He didn’t want to be. The bar was better than his home. It was loud and full of life whilst he wasn’t and the drinking made the loneliness go away, at least while he was at the bar because the second he saw the turn to his street it settled back in.

      That night was different.

      He laid on the floor questioning his own morals, to where they had gone. He didn’t drink in the past or even smoked or much less curse, though when you work at a supermarket’s costumer service and all you hear every second of the day is “You’re no help! I wanna talk to whoever is in charge!” drinking had to be a way to escape a life of failure.He believed his dad was right.
      “You’re wasting your life away! You’ll never make it! You’re an idiot!”
      Well, here he was on the floor of his apartment, the same one he had passed out on every night for the past two years. He moved to the city in order to pursue his real dream, being a singer, but it seemed that his dream wasn’t in pursue of his happiness. He lacked greatness, he lacked everything. “I am worthless” those words were ringing in his ears as of late and they became even more real each night he drank his life away.He wondered though, “Why did I give up so fast?” He was so determined to be a great singer songwriter, so why did he give up so fast?Did he really give up? Did he really just throw in the towel and walked away? Or was he just about to throw the towel and fade away?

      It made sense.

      He wasn’t even good at taking request from angry costumers during the day,he couldn’t even sing decently or write decent music and every single day was the exact same so what was the purpose to go on? He glanced up at the brown glass bottle, it was now empty, just like him and he chuckled at the irony. He reached out for it….eyes shut, deep breath and swallowed down.

    • He wake up. His place seemed strange. Silence.
      So, he remembered that your sister and his two little niece have gone the night before.
      He haven’t seen his family for ten years. He loved his lonely peaceful live. As a writer, he needed silence for long periods of time. But, family is family!
      They arrived and he was surprised to see the two lovely kids, so tender, so cute, so friendly. He discovered himself playing all the old games and having really fun. He got rid of the work in order to strolling around with the kids and his sister, who claimed she have missed him so much for so long.
      Time passed away without he realized it. The visit ended up.

      The night before, the girls have given to him two dolls before the depart. Each girl made one for him to remember them forever. Beloved uncle Jonnhy.
      And now…he missed them. He never realizes how miserable your life was until them. His chest hurt.
      He laid down and decided it is time to open your heart to love.
      More frequently family time, for sure. And, well, there was an amazing beautiful girl next door…

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    • Mr Bag says:

      The life of a single man, after thirteen years of marriage, was a new moment in Noe’s life. At the age of thirteen seven, he never imagined living in a tiny flat at the back of someone else’s yard. His favourite part of the flat was a narrow room with a one seater couch, a radio and a fitting carpet – which he salvaged from his previous life. This was the spot in which he felt comfortable; where he could sit and reflect on his life; this was like his intimate space. Neo believed in ‘order’ in his life and hated chaos. He was of the opinion that everything that happened in life was predestined and what he did, he need to plan meticulously. On this specific summer Sunday afternoon, he decided to take something to calm himself down. He believed that two beers a day was a reasonable and healthy dose of taking in alcohol as a recreational drink. He removed his shirt and took one cold beer from the fridge before relaxing on his couch. As he was slowly drinking his first bottle, he thought about the perfect life he had before the divorce. Neo recalled how everyone envied his life; how friends and family told him about his perfect marriage, a model for all marriages. The idea of having lost it all, a beautiful house, cute little girl and a wife was something he was still trying to wrap his head around after six months of having moved out of the house. He went for his second beer and continued with a process of how he could have prevented the destruction of his marriage. “This is unlike me,” Neo said to himself as he downed the fourth beer. “This must stop,” he said as he came back with the fifth beer. “Let me lie down,” he told himself. Neo lied down after realising that he may have a problem after the fifth beer. Sleep overcame Neo before he could even open the last beer.

    • Wayne Kelso says:

      Dexter’s Brand New High-Tech Super-Special Paint

      I’d been on the floor for nearly an hour and my back was starting to ache. Since the heater wasn’t turned on things were getting pretty chilly. I asked several times if Dexter could crank up the warmth, but apparently this new ‘High-Tech Super-Special Paint’ of his is strangely sensitive to high temperatures. I assured him I didn’t want it turned to full, just up enough so that I wasn’t shivering. But no, a little too much warm air and the paint wouldn’t properly bind to the canvas and the all the lines and colours would run and it would be a total mess. How could he submit it for his art project if it looked like a Salvador Dali painting? He wanted to establish his own brand, his own unique style. I did suggest that he try and takes this fancy schmancy new paint he invented and try selling it. I’m sure there are thousands of aspiring artists who would love to try out a substance which is more vibrant, longer-lasting, and is easily washed off clothes, carpets, household objects and anywhere else where it may not be welcome.
      He was taking far too long, and when I inquired how he was getting on he said he was about halfway done. I suggest he simply draw me completely to begin with, then he could fill in the rest around me and I could get up and stretch my legs and back. He’d been nice enough to give me a beer while I was on the ground, but since he insisted I move as little as possible, drinking it was not the easiest, nor most rewarding experience.
      He said he was done, and that I could come and have a look. I was suddenly very glad he’d asked me to be part of this project when I seen it. The image on the canvas was more vivid and sumptuous than any high-definition photograph I’d ever seen. Every miniscule detail was perfect, every angle and shadow flawless.
      “You’ve got something there.” I declared, smiling as we both began to laugh.

    • Ralitsa M. says:

      Blur. Things slowly taking shape, his eyes opening little by little, but everything was a blur. A throbbing pain was penetrating his skull with every breath. There was a dim light, but nothing was clear just yet. He commanded his hands to move but felt nothing. His entire body seemed reluctant to listen, and his voice was gone. The only thing he could hear and smell was his heavy, foul breath. He closed his eyes trying to find clues in the darkness that took over, his heavy breath echoing somewhere in the distance.

      The next time he came to, the headache was milder. His breathing had calmed down, and his vision was clearer. He tried to speak, but a grunt was all he could muster. He was facing a stained wall and pieces of broken glass on the carpet he was lying on. His arm was next to his body, immobile, and his hand was holding a piece of paper. He made another attempt to move. “Come on! Move! Why aren’t you moving?”, almost as if things would make more sense yelling inside his head, where no one could hear a thing.

      None of this made sense. He couldn’t remember anything from before waking in this place. He tried to move, to make his hand listen again, and again, and again. Feeling a drop of sweat dripping on the carpet and focusing on just his fingers, this time, he pictured them opening slowly — the entire motion, the muscles and bones, everything he could think would take place in this motion. Suddenly, he saw a faint twitch. He tried again, from the beginning. He couldn’t stop now, he wasn’t imagining, his body was starting to listen!

      After many attempts, he got to the point where his fingers were loose enough for the paper to fall from his grip. He tried the same with his arm, so he could direct the paper towards himself and read what was on it. The throbbing pain was faintly coming back, he could feel it, and his strength was abandoning him again. With his sweat forming a stain under his head now, he ordered his arm to move one last time. In a jerked and clumsy motion, he finally pushed the paper and four words in black ink appeared to read: “Welcome to The Game”. An alarm rang, his ears bursting with pain, and darkness won him over again.

    • Brian milne says:

      I’ve been alone 5 weeks now since the bomb, although a brief shadow this morning leads me to think otherwise. Collection of food is the number one priority. Yesterday I discovered in a pile of debri, a small cache of dry goods possibly left behind in a hasty retreat to survive. There was among other things, the ingredients and instructions for peanut butter cookies. Having enough propane left, I proceeded to bake a batch of cookies, which in comparison to what I’ve eaten since my world as I knew ended would be a very welcome change! Putting the delicious aroma creating morsel to my mouth, I bit down! The erupting volcanic burst of…my tongue immediately translates it to my brain, its almost too much to bear! Wait, what is that, why is this happening! It’s hard to breathe, my tongue won’t… I can’t close my…. ,then as I begin to sway and sensation leaves me… I’m allergic!

    • Gloria Stern says:

      There. That does it. Pauly’s overstuffed arm chair was on its side and the speaker from the old system was totally off the carpet. Turning the speaker on its side was harder than
      he figured it would be. He had never tried anything like that before. The hard part was moving the furniture while remaining to one side. The carpet was now cleared. Talbot stepped to the very center and stood tall. Feet flat and toes pointing south, he dropped down and with open hands slid to an outstretched position careful to move arms and legs simultaneously so his weight covered the space evenly. The carpet was freed now but held in place by his body. If he had had help – but it wouldn’t be wise to tell anyone. Better no one knew at least until he had found out more. Until he was successful. It really didn’t matter. They wouldn’t believe him anyway. Would it work now without his falling to one side as it slipped away from him? If he shifted his weight, he would fall off and the carpet would sail away. This time he would be more careful. He was alone each time it happened before. The first time he was sitting in the arm chair translating obscure Arabian folk lore: struggling to get it right. His concentration was so intense, he didn’t feel any movement. He would recognize it now. Talbot drew up both knees taking care not to shift his weight too quickly. The waves beneath the carpet undulated like water. Soon it started. The rocking stopped and smoothed out to a gentle lift so slowly there was no sensation though he knew the carpet was lifting. His surroundings dissolved onto rainbow colors. He stood, legs apart, arms over his head, palms up. “Kalip-alay,……. Kaliph alay”

    • Mandy says:

      This is writing out of the box for me – but it’s a bit of fun doing something so different!

      Minimalist.

      That’s the way to go.

      Yes, come in, come in.

      You see there’s a small fridge and a chest of drawers for whatever possessions you have. A shelf down the one wall if you really need more storage space. But it’s best to keep it simple. That way there’s plenty of space.

      Unadorned, but with the accent of colour in the purple chair. It becomes a bed – small but very neat. It’s a clever item that. You can pack the bed away every day so it does not change the aesthetic simplicity of the room.

      And then behind us the cupboard and the hidden TV screen. The rent …

      Oh, yes, and the rug. Well, that will go with the previous tenant – I think it’s all they brought with them.

      What?

      What about a man?

      Lying on the rug?

      Well, so there is. He’ll have to go. And so will the bottle.

      They really do spoil the effect.

      Now, as I was saying. The rent …

      • Chris P says:

        I love the way the figure on the floor is so incidental. Just dismissed because all the narrator and second voice are interested in is the matter at hand… the room to rent.

    • Ree Mashava says:

      As the year begins we all begin with resolutions, and so did Jeremy. Neatness and cleanliness is what Jeremy put as high on the agenda for his priorities, followed by physical fitness. As a tall slim young man with an athletic body, he saw himself as being too skinny and needed to beef up with a little bit of more muscle to look sexy. His target was to work out for thirty minutes every day before going to work. In keeping with these resolutions, Jeremy decided to rearrange the small amount of furniture in his small room to create space for his aerobics exercises. He also downloaded a few Taebo and Aerobics from You Tube internet sites to use in his exercise routines as well as boost his morale.
      On day one of the exercises, he went for a basic training video and did not feel any deference at the end of the thirty minutes. So the following day, he decided to switch to a video for advanced training and he worked his out, thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. After the exercise, he rewarded himself f with a good hot cup of herbal tea. And it was time time to relax watching the morning news. Lying on the carpet with the remote in his hand, Jeremy quietly passed out with exhaustion.

    • Aaron R. says:

      Things Gone Awry
      Jordan found his front door open when he came home from work. It was about seven o’clock at night when he returned home, and the darkness of night shrouded his house. It looked like a silhouette. In fact, as Jordan approached his front door, he could only see the darkened outlines of what lied therein. Even though he couldn’t see, Jordan knew that something was wrong. He had left the door closed and locked earlier that morning. To Jordan, that left only one possibility … the one that made him shutter to think about.
      Tentatively, Jordan leaned across his threshold, gazing from side to side for intruders. When he didn’t see any, he took a gentle step in.
      “Hello?”
      After saying this, Jordan paused—no response. He took another step in, and again he waited. No response. But this did nothing to calm Jordan’s mind. He took another step, gazing out, when suddenly he heard a voice.
      “Hello, Jordan.”
      Jordan screamed, and then the lights came on. Jordan shot around, his heart racing, and saw none other than his elderly neighbor, Mr. Johnson, standing behind him with a knife.
      “What are you doing here?” Jordan asked, panicked.
      “I’m here for my penance, Jordan,” relied Mr. Johnson, “That $10.00 you borrowed from me? I want that debt paid. And I want it paid in blood!”
      With that, Mr. Johnson suddenly sprang forward, thrusting his knife toward Jordan’s throat. But Mr. Johnson was slow in his old age, so Jordan could quickly grab the knife from him. Mr. Johnson didn’t let up, and he charged again. This time, Jordan drove his knife into Mr. Jordan’s abdomen, and the old man fell to the ground, dead.
      And there Jordan stood with the knife, still dripping with his blood.
      Then, the phone in Jordan’s pocket began to ring. Jordan reached into his pocket and answered it.
      “Hello?” he asked, shakily.
      “Hello, Jordan,” a voice droned in response, “Your killing has been witnessed by forces unknown.”
      The phone suddenly clicked off, and Jordan found himself alone in his house again. Panicked, he fled.

    • Aaron R. says:

      Things Gone Awry
      Jordan found his front door open when he came home from work. It was about seven o’clock at night when he returned home, and the final rays of sunlight had already given way to the darkness of the night. This darkness shrouded his house, making it look like a silhouette. In fact, as Jordan approached his front door, he could only see the darkened outlines of what lied therein. But, even though he couldn’t see, Jordan knew that something was wrong. He had left the door closed and locked earlier that morning, and surely the door couldn’t just open itself. To Jordan, that left only one possibility … the one that made him shutter to think about.
      Tentatively, Jordan leaned across his threshold, gazing from side to side for any signs of intruders. When he didn’t see any, he took a gentle step in.
      “Hello?”
      After saying this, Jordan paused for a moment and waiter—no response. He took another step in, and again he waited. Again, there was no response. But this did nothing to assuage Jordan’s racing heart. He took another step, gazing out into the darkness, when suddenly he heard a voice behind him.
      “Hello, Jordan.”
      Jordan screamed, and then the lights came on. Jordan shot around, his heart racing, and saw none other than his elderly neighbor, Mr. Johnson, standing behind him with a knife.
      “What are you doing here?” Jordan asked, panicked.
      “I’m here for my penance, Jordan,” relied Mr. Johnson, “That $10.00 you borrowed from me? I want that debt paid. And where I’m from, the only way to pay a debt is in blood!”
      With that, Mr. Johnson suddenly sprang forward, thrusting his knife toward Jordan’s throat. But Mr. Johnson’s reflexes were slow in his old age, so Jordan was able to quickly grab the knife and pull it away. Mr. Jordan didn’t let up, and he charged again. This time, Jordan countered, and he drove his knife into Mr. Jordan’s abdomen, and the old man fell to the ground. After a few moments, he stopped struggling, and his breathing stopped.
      And there Jordan stood with the knife, still dripping with his blood.
      Then, almost as if by some sort of perverse magic, the phone in Jordan’s pocket began to ring. Jordan reached into his pocket and answered it.
      “Hello?” he asked, shakily.
      “Hello, Jordan,” a voice droned on the other end, “Your killing has been witnessed by forces unknown.”
      The phone suddenly clicked off, and Jordan found himself alone in his house again. Panicked, he fled.

    • Aaron R. says:

      “That’s the last time I eat Double Stuffed Oreos!” thought Gerald, rubbing his temples.

    • Patricia says:

      Feeling a cold wetness around his mouth, he squinted his eyes open, trying to shield them from the light. His mouth was open; drool dripped onto the floor.

      “What?…where am I?” he moaned in a low voice, asking no one in particular. He moved his left hand up to his mouth to wipe off the drool. He slowly moved his head, but it was too heavy, weighted down.

      “Oh…yeah” he whispered to himself as he raised his head from the floor, remembering speaking to her on the phone. It must have been the shock of hearing her voice, and realizing who it was. He must have dropped the phone and passed out.

      That wasn’t usual for him–he wasn’t a “passing-out” kind-of-guy.

      But here he was. Stone cold on the floor.

      He moved his splayed out hands towards his head, pushing himself upward, pausing mid-air, overwhelmed by the heaviness of his head. He felt as if he would swoon again. He rolled over onto his right side, propping up his head with his hand, letting himself get his equilibrium. Slammed by a wave of nausea, he realized he must have burnt the food.

      He laughed to himself, “She really packs a punch, doesn’t she?” as pieces of reality came back to him. He wasn’t sure what time it was–it could have been any century. But–“oh, yeah”-he had won!
      He had won the prize! He had never won anything in his life before, and he certainly hadn’t been expecting to this time.

      But he had allowed for the possibility. He had stayed by the phone, waiting for her call.

      Her name was Layla: the new British singing phenom. She was calling one of her adoring fans. She was rad: he adored her. It wasn’t like him to be a fan, but, she–she had him at Middle C.

      And his phone had rung.

      And he had answered.

      “Hello…,” came the rusty, sexy voice.

      And then the lights went out.

    • Dave Braaten says:

      What a difference a day makes. Eldon woke up this morning to his third snooze button ring. “I hate this place. All I do is work anymore just to pay the rent on this stupid little hole in the wall. I wish I had never moved out of my parents place. Where’s all of the freedom I was looking forward to?” His day trudges on at the factory as he thinks about having to go home to a cramped one room efficiency. Three years seems like a lifetime when your stuck in a ten by twenty foot room. He doesn’t dare bring a date home for fear of being a laughing stock. He dilly-dallies on his way home so he doesn’t have to spend any more time than necessary cooped up inside. He stops at the drugstore and buys a six pack of root-beer before nudging his way out the door to the streets again. As he goes under the viaduct for what seems like the millionth time he sees a guy approaching with his hand out.
      “Spare change?” is all the man mutters.
      Eldon almost doesn’t stop until he sees a big box with a blanket over the opening. What the heck you got in there, A refrigerator?”
      “Uh,no, that’s my house.”
      “Yeah, right.” Unbelievable to a guy who grew up in middle class suburbia.
      “Check it out. It’s bigger than it looks from the outside,” the man says.
      Eldon can’t believe his eyes. The box can’t be anymore than six feet by four feet and not even standing height.
      Visibly shook, Eldon hands the man three dollars and whatever other change he can dig out of his pocket. He quickly heads home. He enters his apartment, and strips down to his jeans. He cracks open a bottle of root beer, sucks it down, then drops to the floor and hugs his luscious carpet in his luxury sweet.
      Dave Braaten

    • Jilted
      Jake was nobody’s fool. Driving down Lincoln Street, he spied Cindy coming out of the library with Doug. They were laughing and joking and it was clear that they had been there together. Doug was carrying an armload of books and Cindy had her arm locked inside his.
      Jake did not want Cindy to know he had spotted her with Doug, so he made a sharp left turn before she had a chance to glance his way. His first reaction was embarrassment because he had asked Cindy to go to the movies. She had turned him down saying that she had to babysit her cousin. Like a fool, Jake offered to keep her company, but Cindy begged off. Her excuse was that she had a term paper due on Monday and she was going to use the time to complete it.
      Driving a little further down the street Jake was getting steamed up. If Cindy didn’t want to go out with him she could have just said so. But no… she made him look like some kind of idiot! As if by some stroke of luck, he passes “The Dirty Dog”. Well Dam! He could use a cold beer, getting all worked up like this was making him thirsty.
      He parks his truck, struts into the bar and orders a Coors. That goes down real smooth, so he orders another and he gets a whisky chaser to go with it. Two hours later, the bar tender cuts him off. “Sorry fella but I think you’ve had enough.” Jake gets back into his truck and weaves his way home. By now he is feeing down right sorry for himself. He´s thinking “She was out with Doug. Why would she want to go out with Doug? He’s not on the Varsity Team, he doesn’t even play football. That dweeb is on the debating team for God’s sake!”
      Jake pulls into his driveway and stumbles up the stairs. Somewhere he’s got a bottle of bourbon tucked away. Locating the bottle, he pulls out the stopper, chugs down a few gulps, and falls flat on his face.

    • It was just another day. I’d been trying to write that novel but without success. The truth was, I couldn’t get the ending right. How was I going to get my villainous male character out of his captivity without it being unbelievable?

      So I did what I did every other day. I hit the bottle. Hard. I’d always liked a nice little rinse out and my inability to make it as a writer gave me an excuse. It was fine, I was watching the TV, drinking glass after glass of good French wine. It was warm, so I took off my shirt.

      My cats were having a field day chasing each other around the house. Chasey-chasey, I called it. They sent things flying when they did it, chairs, rugs, and so on, but they seemed to enjoy themselves. I knew they’d calm down after a while.

      I got up to go and relieve myself, cats still in mid-run. I don’t know, maybe it was the booze, but I was a bit unsteady on my feet. As I was coming back into the living room I felt myself flying through the air, having tripped over one of the cats. I think I screamed. I know the cat did.

      The next thing I knew was when I woke up the following morning with the mummy and daddy of all hangovers, flat on the floor in the living room. and a bruise on the side of my head where I’d hit the floor.

    • Kalyani Baride says:

      It had been 3 days that I hadn’t had slept properly. Well it’s all because of my work which is my passion, but I never thought my passion would make me work without sleep. Honestly I had reached that zone where, anywhere I would look, I was able visualise my tiny room and the lovely floor and my mattress. With sore and burning eyes I kept editing on my computer.
      “Delaney, its ok, go home, get some rest. I will tell boss, he will understand.” Martha said as she walked in my cabin. I turned to look at her, shock crossed her face. “God look at you!” she exclaimed. “I know I look horrible but I have got to finish this. I don’t like leaving unless a part is entirely finished.” I said and a yawn followed which felt like it went on for minutes. “You’re right. I do need rest.” I said. Locking my system, I grabbed my things and dragged myself to the house. Thankfully my work was only 2 buildings away from my house. I walked all the way. As I let myself in, in no state of making my bed, I collapsed on the carpet and snored off to glory.
      “Delaney, Delaney, wake up!” I opened my eyes to an unfamiliar room. “You really need sleep. Go home! I will tell boss don’t worry.” Martha said. Trying to register the surroundings, I was still napping in the office and me snoring off to glory was just a dream!

      P.S. I am a beginner at writing.. Do let me know of any mistakes or what could have been better. Really need guidance. Thanks, Kalyani Baride.

    • Morgan Norma says:

      There are rooms I will remember all the days of my long life.

      The crowded room, where people laughed, danced and drank too much, and we met for the first time. Talking for hours, we only had eyes for each other in the room of new beginnings.

      And the minimalist room in your parents’ home where we danced alone while they were out. Our eager lips touched, and danced into a first kiss. ‘Kate, you are beautiful,’ you said, and the room overflowed with the magic called young love.

      In a B&B in Bideford, we spent our honeymoon in a room that smelt of potpourri. Nothing matched and rain hammered on the windowpane. We didn’t care. The lumpy bed full of hopes and dreams, we made love as if it would last forever.

      We started married life in a flat above the chippy. I don’t recall in which room the rows began. The kitchen, the bathroom, the cottage-style living room? Over time, each room became a battleground, the freshly painted walls tainted with pain.

      One day I came home early. In our bedroom, the heart patterned duvet we chose together, lay rejected on the floor. The naked bed, framed your naked bodies, in the room where I discovered my husband and my best friend were lovers.

      In a sordid room, with blood red walls, and where a human skull sat on a coffin whispering warnings, I sought revenge and solace in another man’s arms. His hand’s felt cold, the skull cried, ‘Run.’ But damn, that man wanted me, in the room where I lost my humanity.

      Today, I visited the narrow room you turned into your office. The walls painted white to help you focus. No clutter, just a chair and a fridge to chill your beers. I pleaded with you to leave her and be mine again. You laughed. So I drained you dry, and your lifeless body, white as the walls, laid sprawled, like a rejected duvet, on the floor.

      And I will remember the room where love died all the days of my long vampire life.

    • Ros says:

      “Jesus. Fricking Jesus.” Steve opened his eyes and snapped them shut again. His eyelashes brushed the carpet in a kind of friction that eyelashes should never feel. His hipbones dug into the floor, reminding him why it was so desirable to own a bed in the first place.

      No, that was wrong. He did own a bed, ownership wasn’t the problem here. Possession was the problem.

      He heaved his body over so he could lie on his back, momentarily leaving one arm trapped beneath him before he mustered enough energy to drag it free. Phew. The aches faded from his front, trickling down his body until gravity settled them in his spine in that simultaneously annoying and satisfying way.

      He was too near something – the beer bottle, damming evidence of the night before, loomed over his left eye. He batted it away. It was all too obvious now.

      ‘Steve, you never go out any more.’

      ‘Steve, you work too hard.’

      ‘Steve, we never see you anymore.’

      Well Steve was going to beat his own record at hermit-like behaviour. It was clear he needed to stand guard all the time, especially if his work mates were being dragged into this.

      He had been too drunk to do more than resign himself to sleeping on the carpet last night, but now he had the chance to reflect he was impressed. Still highly irritated, but also impressed. That bed had been hell to get in here.

      There was a loud rapping on the door.

      “No.” He shouted.

      “Come on.”

      “No.”

      The handle began to turn, inching its way around in front of him, ready to reveal his tormentor. Oh, how he regretted this. How he regretted it ever since he had started it with that hideous pink chair. He hadn’t thought through quite how much he was going to resent living with that in his room.

      The door swung open. Bright green eyes laughed at him. Damn, she was beautiful.

      “I’ve got your bed.” She sang, eyebrows raised in expectation.

      He closed his eyes again. “Alright! You win. I’ll move into yours.”

    • Adrian Estment says:

      Yo, that’s the last time I read a Clarice Lispector novel. Ok, she only gave it to me for Christmas, but already it’s got me immersed. Bit too deep in the rug though. Why not a good clean set of flagstones like in the Marbella villa, or crisp linoleum the Benidorm apartment way? That would have been just ace for a scuttle. They say we’re the most intelligent insect life out there. So why ply us with pile, eh? It kinda holds up the exercise regime. A healthy mind in a healthy body… not one struggling with the crawl through a simulated Polar Bear fur. Ok, if insects had Mensa we’d be top of the pile, but that’s another story. Now, where’s that biscuit I dropped before I started reading?

    • Heidi Kortman says:

      I never did understand why Jeannine and Rob divided their basement into such narrow spaces. She’d sent me down from the buffet to find him. Upstairs, the guests chattered and cackled. New Year’s parties were okay, but by now, I needed a little distance from the noise. I opened the first of a series of doors at the bottom of the steps. “Rob?”

      He wasn’t in that room. I moved on to the next. Nothing there but his workbench and the water heater. “Rob?”

      I knew the next two doors were storage closets, so I didn’t bother with those.

      I opened the last door. This room had windows, and Rob. He was shirtless, and flat out cold on the floor. Nearby, the culprit, an empty Guinness bottle. “Rob, you eejit.” I slammed the door on the scene, and called up the stairs—”Jeannine, send Mike down. Rob’s done it again.”

    • Jolie says:

      Do you ever have those days where life feels insurmountable? Its obstacles and demands and treacherous ways crumbling you like a flimsy sheet of paper in what feels like the palm of fate. Some days, I rise victoriously, with silent strength pushing against the hand of nature that created us. Shielded with invisible rehabilitating mantras and positive affirmations, I grab my will and my sword and slice through challenges before me. But there are days like this one when the phone rings and before my greeting comes out, I’m met with words I can’t digest. The phone slips out my hand, its thud cushioned by the thinning carpet. My knees give in first, burning with the force of impact as it stamps the floor. My swaying head, for once disinclined to think, propels my torso forward.
      I don’t know how long it took and I don’t know how long I’ve been laying here.
      I laid on the floor and gasped for air. In that vulnerable moment, I could feel my nostrils flaring in and out with every breath, my heart pounding voraciously, the crisp central air tickling my nose hairs with each inhale and the itchy pull of carpet where my face landed. Its fibers conformed to my face like a formfitting wool sweater, comforting once you get past the discomfort of the itch. My life had been so narrow, just like this room, just like this spot I’m lying in. Dull, suppressed, forgettable, sad and robotically organized. It was sobering to just lay there and observe myself, deep within me, miles away from me, and hovering all around my own self.
      I wondered briefly if I could will myself to stop breathing. I hadn’t lived in so long. If I could just stop listening to my heartbeat then stop myself from breathing. I tried for a bit but the panic set in and the wave of relief hanging within my grasp was too great to ignore. When my breath returned to me, it vivified everything around me. Breathing was delicious and scary.

    • Vickie says:

      The security alarm is blaring and I hear rumbling in the next room. Someone is in my house. Someone is robbing me! My mind starts racing. I hear the intruders barking out orders and it doesn’t sound safe for me. “Kill anyone you run into. We don’t have time to deal with them. The cops will be here in two minutes.”

      Shit! How can I get out of here without being killed? I’m sweating and my knees begin to buckle. I have to think quick. So I decide to fake that I am passed out. I pull a beer from the fridge, slam it and carefully set the bottle on the floor. Then I pull off my shirt and shoes and hide them under the chair. I wonder if this will work, but I don’t have time to change my mind. I have to be quick and I have to be quiet. Any suspicious noise and they will know someone is in the house. My heart is pounding out of my chest. They are getting closer. Quickly, I lie down next to the empty beer bottle.

      Are there two, three, maybe four intruders? Their voices are loud. They are just outside the door. Two minutes seems like forever! I wonder if I will survive. Why would someone want to rob me? I don’t have money – nothing of value, except… Oh no!! These guys are after me! They want to kill me! These are the guys I saw kill Charlie. I’m doomed. I lie there motionless.

      Suddenly the door swings open and the intruders come barreling in. “Here he is” one guy yells. “Shoot him!” I don’t move, but inside I am screaming, “Please God! Help me.”

      “CUT!” shouts the director. “It’s a take. I think we have keeper!”

    • Kathleen Collier says:

      Finished at last. Thomas was satisfied with his latest challenge. Another room done. It took him months to decide on the color of the paint, wall trim, room accessories, and changes in the furniture. Now all he has to do is start on another room and maybe he’ll be done before this year is over. The final push was over the last two days of non-stop work to finish and he was exhausted.
      It’s 6:00 a.m. and he has to jump in the shower, grab breakfast, and then rush to deliver a commissioned painting to his new client by 8:30 a.m. The large oil painting took almost one week to dry due to the high humidity, even though he kept it in a closed room with a fan blowing on it.
      Deep in thought the loud shrill of the old doorbell made him jump.
      Who the hell could that be this early? There was no one at the front door, nor was there any sign of a vehicle. With time passing quickly he made a quick decision to continue with his plans.
      With his mouth full of food Thomas loads up the 48” x 72” painting in its crate, covering it with a tarp in the back of his van. He slowly cruises out of his winding driveway, avoiding ruts and fallen tree branches. He figures he should get to his client’s home around 8:15 and then leave with his $4,000.00 check so he can deposit it before he starts on other business.
      Thomas starts on new sketches for a new commission on a much larger oil painting. Again, deep in thought his doorbell rings. Jumping up he goes to the window and again sees no one.
      This is so weird. I wonder if there is a faulty wire in that old bell. I’ll grab a beer, call an electrician and start on the new painting.
      As he walks toward the phone he feels a hard object hit his head from behind and feels himself falling in pain as the sound of crushing skull is the last thing he remembers.

    • The word here is SURREAL. By dictionary definition, surrealism grew out of a movement in the 1920’s. Strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud; the movement sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind. The aim was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality” A mix of fact and fantasy. Symbolism is dominant in viewing any surreal image.

      With that understanding in mind; what we are witnessing is the life of a lifeless writer; when their world narrows and becomes small, as depicted by the narrow room. No experiences on which to draw upon. The stark whiteness of the room is representative of that ‘scary’ blank page that calls to be filled but nothing comes to mind. A writer’s worse nightmare. The Kewpie dolls sitting atop a locked file cabinet at the far end of the narrow room, merely LUCK which the writer was going to reach for but never made it to even grasp upon that; to write something. The file cabinet is the mind, ‘a locked mind.’ LOCKED UP by fears and what others think, rather than the confidence to express feelings in his writer soul. The writer lays there partially clothed. He wanted to be a writer; but didn’t clothe himself fully in disciplined knowledge of the rules and procedures of grammar, punctuation, vocabulary. His understanding of writing was rudimentary. Very basic. Elementary; or so he thought.

      POOF… THE IMAGE DISAPPEARS as the writer shakes off this surreal image and puts the fingers to the keyboard. Smiling broadly; yet trembling a bit, with an experienced ‘knowing’ this surreal image will be back. With every new assignment that comes across the desk; the writer knows this image will be back. That’s the reality of writing: filling the blank white page with a certain number of words and by a certain deadline; reaching for experiences of the past and linking that past to the present story to be told, so as to inform or amuse the unknown and always changing audience and editor that sits on the other side of that white curtain in image. SURREAL!!

    • Ros says:

      “Jesus. Fricking Jesus.” Steve opened his eyes and snapped them shut again. His eyelashes brushed the carpet in a kind of friction that eyelashes should never feel. His hipbones dug into the floor, reminding him why it was so desirable to own a bed in the first place.

      No, that was wrong. He did own a bed, ownership wasn’t the problem here. Possession was the problem.

      He heaved his body over so he could lie on his back, momentarily leaving one arm trapped beneath him before he mustered enough energy to drag it free. Phew. The aches faded from his front, trickling down his body until gravity settled them in his spine in that simultaneously annoying and satisfying way.

      He was too near something – the beer bottle, damming evidence of the night before, loomed over his left eye. He batted it away. It was all too obvious now.

      ‘Steve, you never go out any more.’

      ‘Steve, you work too hard.’

      ‘Steve, we never see you anymore.’

      Well Steve was going to beat his own record at hermit-like behaviour. It was clear he needed to stand guard all the time, especially if his work mates were being dragged into this.

      He had been too drunk to do more than resign himself to sleeping on the carpet last night, but now he had the chance to reflect he was impressed. Still highly irritated, but also impressed. That bed had been hell to get in here.

      There was a loud rapping on the door.

      “No.” He shouted.

      “Come on.”

      “No.”

      The handle began to turn, inching its way around in front of him, ready to reveal his tormentor. Oh, how he regretted this. How he regretted it ever since he had started it with that hideous pink chair. He hadn’t thought through quite how much he was going to resent living with that in his room.

      The door swung open. Bright green eyes laughed at him. Damn, she was beautiful.

      “I’ve got your bed.” She sang, eyebrows raised in expectation.

      He closed his eyes again. “Alright! You win. I’ll move into yours.”

    • Lou Parker says:

      I hit the wall. Truthfully, it was the floor. The previous twelve hours had been spent desperately trying to drown the unyielding pain in my soul. Like a bad movie, the end could not come soon enough.
      With partially digested stale beer threatening to eject from my already rotten tasting mouth, my will to live is gone.
      Twelve hours ago, the plan was to get off life’s endless treadmill of shame and humiliation. Failure to do anything right, including dying, only adds to the depth of my misery.
      Self-pity, self-doubt, and rejection all fight for my destiny’s driver’s seat. The murky fog of insecurity and misery cloak any possible escape routes. I am slowly suffocating.
      Out of beer and out of hope, I am alone, anticipating the approaching refuge and stillness of eternity.
      As I wait, I hear cars starting and people talking outside my window. I am outraged by their inconsideration.
      Next door, someone is taking a shower. I can hear kids talking in the hall as they leave to catch a ride to school. Life goes on without me.
      Their rudeness is deplorable. How dare these thoughtless creatures intrude on my death scene!
      Lying there on the cold, unforgiving linoleum, my heart continues to beat and my breath refuses to stop. My head begins to violently throb. The only part of my body not aching are my numb, cold feet.
      The pain in my head crescendos like a toddler’s screaming tantrum, demanding I do something besides lie here. The pity party is over. My final kiss with Death will have to wait.

    • You know, this happens every day of the week…… and you have related very well to what happens. A sad day for that family.

      I relate so well to that story as that is my occupation and I have heard similar story to Jack’s many times.

      Today, Gold has risen more than $15.00, too bad he could not have waited til now….!

    • Stephen Soto says:

      A year in this tiny room and no one to kill. How appalling!

      My first thought when I saw the room was: How am I going to live here for a year? It was so small there was no bed. Almost completely bare except for three small pieces, a few trinkets, a rug and some curtains. So I decided to put on my favorite jeans, have one of the six beers that I would be allowed during the year long journey, and lay down on the floor to think.

      What a mistake they made when they picked me!

      Of course, this is how I wanted the room decorated. Sparse, almost barren. On purpose. I was one of the thirty people selected to go on this unique trip. One of the selected few to help start the first colony of humans in Mars. A proud member of the original space pioneers. Recognized my millions back on Earth. Famous!

      But nobody knew the truth about me.

      I’ve known of my “special needs” for the past few years. Ever since the primal need for blood awoke in me the day I made my first kill – a poor little dog that used to roam around the neighborhood. Since then it had been… what, twelve kills? Graduating to humans after kill number four?

      I had always been very careful, covering my tracks with great efforts to make sure there was no trail left behind. And now I was on my way to Paradise: a self-contained, small colony of humans, totally isolated and vulnerable. All for myself!

      I’ll be the first serial killer to inhabit the Red Planet. Of course, nobody will know. During the year long trip I must find a way to kill a few of them – “accidents”, of course. And then I’ll have another year or two to kill off the rest – more “accidents”. But it must be done expeditiously – I don’t the planet to kill a few without my help, as it usually happens when grand endeavors of this nature are conducted.

      After all, we are going to a new planet!

    • Dk.dua says:

      jack was a regular player of commodity market player . for last few months he was losing money continuously…His passion to recover loss was making him blind , his decision were not mature and full of greed , His wife jolly was not happy with him. Because She was insisting him to stop this gambling and do some job in office. But Jack was greedy and in search of easy money. Today he was continuously in touch on phone with his dealer , he was expecting gold will be gaining 10 dollar up by evening, But it was coming down .His account was having short of money , his dealer told him to deposit immediately 20000 dollar otherwise he will square up his position of 10 lots of gold and his loss will be approximately 10000 dollar. but it was impossible to arrange such amount at this time , He shares this to his wife but she start shouting upon him and goes away at her parents house . Jack was expecting a sympathy from her but he had broken down from both side, As his dealer phones him that his positions are squared up . His total loss is 11000 dollar. His account is having balance of only 102 dollar. Once upon a time he started this business with 100,000 dollar . today he has lost all money as well as his wife too. So jack is lost mentally and he is in shocking state and lying down as unconscious state, very sad……

    • Lindria says:

      ** My first shot at this! Quite silly but I wrote the first thing that popped into my head. English isn’t my first language so please excuse any errors! **

      Michael knocks on the door of his friend’s apartment. There’s no answer. He can faintly hear music playing, which means he must be home.
      He tries again, knocking harder this time but to no avail. He sighs and walks back downstairs to retrieve the spare key from his car. On his way back up he walks past Tabitha, the eccentric girl from apartment 3B and they greet each other briefly. He notices that she changed her hair colour from pastel blue to grey with a few light blue and purple streaks at the tips.

      He opens the front door and heads to the living room, where he finds James sprawled out on the floor, his eyes staring vacantly into the distance.

      Michael sighs audibly once again.
      “James, what are you doing?”
      A grunt is all response he gets.
      “You’re having another existential crisis aren’t you?” Michael asks.
      Another grunt answers his question.
      Michael continues to try make conversation with his friend.
      “So I see Tabitha changed her hair. Looks really cool.”
      James grunts again, but this time starts cringing – apparently that wasn’t the right thing to say.
      “Now you’re having a cringe attack? Oh geez, that bad?”
      James finally rolls over and sits up.
      “I asked her out,” James finally says.
      “And she said no?”
      “No.”
      “She said no, or no she didn’t say no?”
      “She didn’t say no.”
      “So… what’s the problem?”
      “It was painfully awkward. She probably thinks I’m a loser now,” he explains as he cradles his face in his hands.
      “You’re over thinking things. As usual.”
      “No I’m not! First I stumbled over my words like an idiot and then I fell up the stairs when I was coming up here. She laughed.”
      Michael laughed, “She still said yes didn’t she? After all, you both wear loads of black, she’s got a few tattoos and cool hair and… well you don’t but you get what I mean. It’ll be fine, so stop being such an idiot.”
      “Wow thanks,” James responds sarcastically.
      “That’s what best friends are for” Michael responds and pats his friend on the back.

      • This is my time to learn also. I read your story and think it to be excellent. You have put together something with some feeling and it was easy to follow. Kudos!

    • Jack says:

      Staggering out of the kitchen Jack stumbled on the frayed edge of the stupid throw rug. Janet had to have it. She wouldn’t let it go until he gave in and bought it for her. He couldn’t understand why it mattered. There was nothing wrong with the floor of their apartment. She had called it tiny and sterile but Jack found comfort in the minimalism of their tiny abode. There was no fluff. No show. It was a simple living space just as it was designed to be. Jack gave in to Janet’s pleading because he was tired of her sighs and groans each time they walked into their apartment. He still didn’t care. It was a stupid rug covering a stupid floor.

      Only now this seemingly ridiculous item possessed immense significance in Jack’s life. It was the only thing in the apartment that indicated Janet had ever been there. That he had ever had a roommate, had ever shared this living space with another human being. Now this rug held complete power over Jack as he tried to steady himself and regain his footing.

      Stumbling forward Jacks eyes widened as the bottle in his hand nearly crashed into the wall. Refusing to let the one remaining thing he loved go he attempted to right himself on his feet but dramatically failed. He saw it coming. It happened in slow motion. That rug. That infernal rug! Stupid thing!

      The fibers of the rug came into close focus and Jack could see the intricate detail of the colorful woven patterns. There was beauty contained within this ridiculous thing he walked on every day. Just as there had been beauty in Janet he had not seen until it was too late to change her mind. Just like Janet this rug possessed an internal beauty so magnificent Jack could not fathom the talent necessary to create it. In a flash Jack saw a vision of dainty hands weaving colored yarns into what he was about to meet face to face.

      That was Jacks last thought before his face smashed into the rug full force. The thud of his body striking the ground could be heard two apartments away. But no one noticed. Most had forgotten Jack lived there. He had been a hermit since Janets departure. Lucky for him there had been a sale on balsamic vinegar. He had been surviving on the cases they purchased for Janet to perfect her Mediterranean influenced recipes.

      None of that mattered now. By the time Jacks body was discovered his flesh had become one with the rug. As the coroner examined the scene she decided it would be easiest to wrap Jack in the rug and take them as one. Just as they had become in Jack’s final moments. He and it, longing for the woman who had taken a chance on each. Each one understanding the other. But it no longer mattered. Neither would ever know Janets love again. Nor would she know Jack and the rug departed as one.

      • Terry says:

        I really like this, Jack, both for style and the quirky, intimate construct. Great job!

        • Jack says:

          Thank you Terry!

    • Bohdanka says:

      Sam came home from work late, as usual. Put the keys on a desk, turned on a TV, and grabbed some chips from the table. He used to repeat his evening rituals day by day without even noticing it. Sam took off his shoes and T-shirt with the intention to take a shower. Suddenly he felt extremely tired and sat on a couch in front of the TV set. It wasn’t that physical fatigue that you feel in your muscles after a workout, but emotional tiredness filling all his mind and body. Sam closed his eyes and started thinking of all the things he would like be doing instead of lying on that shabby stupid couch. He would’ve finally asked Lily to go out and they would spend a wonderful evening at that charming restaurant near the river. He would’ve finally learned how to play guitar and it wouldn’t be covered with dust in his wardrobe. He would’ve finally bought plane tickets and flown to the sea which he had never seen before. He would’ve finally quit his job making him ill on a daily basis and tried something new, risky and adventurous… Sam’s train of thoughts could have taken him far from his apartments, but the loud sound from another room interrupted his dreams. He stood out of the couch and went to check it out. The light in another room was turned on and the window was broken with the glass laid all over the place. Before Sam could figure out what to do, he felt a sharp pain in his head from behind. He felt on a carpet losing his conscious and all his missed plans.

    • Chris P says:

      ‘RAID’

      “Are you ready, Blue?” She looked across at him, “I know this is your first time…” she smiled reassuringly, “but you needn’t worry.”

      Blue grabbed Magenta’s hand, “Yeah… I’ll be OK, I suppose…” He rolled his eyes as if embarrassed by what he was going to say, “It’s just… Oh y’know… They say it feels really weird and some people throw up…”

      She squeezed his hand, “Yeah… It can. I won’t deny it, but it’s worth it.” She smiled that smile again. “Trust me, Blue. You really won’t believe it.”

      “OK… Ready when you are. Touch the pad… Quickly, before I change my mind.” Magenta nodded, then reached across to the control pad. She looked across the room to the technician. He nodded and touched his pad too. The two figures in the ‘gate’ went misty and faded to nothing.

      * * *

      Blue gripped the girl’s arm, “There’s someone there… He’s enormous… What do…”

      She interrupted him, “It’s OK… He can’t see us yet…” she raised her hand. It held a round silver ball. The figure in front collapsed onto the floor, but the loud thump Blue would expect to hear was absent. “There… Sorted, OK?”

      “Is he alright?… Won’t that fall have hurt him?”

      “No, the ball minimises his weight… He’ll be a bit puzzled when he returns, but that’s all.” She turned to look at Blue, “Can you see your vision becoming gradually sharper now?”

      Blue nodded, “Yeah… What’s happening?”

      “That’s why we have the ball… to stun them so they can’t see us when we’ve ‘cleared’.”

      “And…” he looked at her, then back to the prone figure. “Is… Is… Is that really what we used to look like all those millennia ago?” He stuttered incredulously, “Big?… like that?”

      She nodded, “Yeah… Big like that. Now c’mon, move. We’ve got to get the stuff and return to our own time. Then we’ll be rich, right?”

      “Right… an’ it’s through that doorway, is it?”

      She nodded, “Sure is… They grew them, thousands of tonnes of them. Not for jewellery, though. They called them ‘rice’ grains.”

    • Amrita says:

      White

      The bright lights hurt my eyes.
      What is happening here?
      Where am I?
      Amit opened his eyes, blinking, till he adjusted to the strange brightness around him. He saw glimpses of colour but a blinding white light assailed his vision.
      He could see in snatches.
      He could think in bits but he could not connect the dots. He felt as if a piece in the puzzle was missing and the gaping hole stared at him. Just that this hole was in his mind. Incoherent thoughts grabbed him.The sound of a siren, was it or was his mind playing a trick.
      He tried to get up, he was lying on his tummy, a cold draft of air swept under him.He moved, slithered to gain control over his movements.
      He managed to come up in a yogic cobra pose but lost balance and felt a cold ground hit him just as the reality he was about to trace with his trailing memory.
      The sound of the siren persisted and it pushed him into action to go see what was happening. He went to the window but an invisible energy pushed him down again.
      Slowly, he reached the window, half muffled into the pristine white curtains, he looked out.
      There was nothing. The lamp posts steady shedding light on the dark pavement.
      The sounds in his head continued to buzz, an incessant traffic of noise.

      He covered his ears, threw himself on the ground and called out.
      ” Susan, come here.”
      A voice said, ” Coming.” But nobody came.
      “Edge of the seat moment”
      Amit called again,”Right now, my head is bursting.”
      “ At the climax, two minutes.”
      Amit sat up. Saw the white haze in the room and closed his eyes.
      In two minutes the buzzing subsided and Susan came, panadol in hand and a glass of water.

    • Vince says:

      For space I didn’t format the conversation – No spell check, rough. 22 minutes – 350 words.
      “Jeff is down!! Quick check his pulse! I knew they couldn’t be trusted. Then it hits Alex, “Look at the room, it is all white. The walls were a lite gold when they came in here.” Suzie done checking Jeff out and determined he is dead looks around. “Don’t touch the walls Alex.” “What is that? Suzie it looks as if they are covered with some kind of slime.” They use Alex’s pen to scrap the wall and it starts to cover the pen. Alex drops the on the wood shelf that goes along two wall of the room. Alex and Suzie look at each other when the pen is completely turned white the wood shelf remains untouched. “Alex what are we going to do with them?” “The police are never going to believe that they did it, we will become the main suspects for sure.” “That’s impossible, everyone knows we told him not to come in here and we left with everyone else.” “What are we doing here so early in the morning?” “Suz, we need to call the police and just let them handle it.” “We don’t say anything other than we came to check on Jeff because he was drunk and that is sort of the truth.” “No, no Alex, they will only become a problem for us and them. We need to do something about them.” “They just moved Suzie and it isn’t dark, I didn’t know they could do that.” “We need to burn the place Alex, it is the only way. We need to do it before they move freely, it must be why the room is covered with this slime.” “What about Jeff?” “We will have to leave him here, he was drunk and we can say it was started when we got here, but couldn’t do anything about it.” “Give me your perfume, it’s alcohol” He puts half in the microwave, turns it on, pours the rest on the rug. The microwave is on max power and max time. They look back, the Troll dolls are struggling to move, the door closes.

    • The man lay bloody.

      We do what we gotta do, us husbands, the man thought, then began to convulse across the hallway carpet. Blood smeared the carpet and splotched the walls like a messy lipstick job. Handprints and footprints without much pressure put into them left rough impressions of fingers and toes on the ivory fabric. This man wasn’t hurt. This man was Jon.

      Jon knew certain sacrifices must be made for his wife. He stayed strong, and labored on. Hours and hours passed, and in that time their two-story house transformed into a crime-scene site. It stank.

      How did Jon lose so much blood, as to refurbishing the couch and swamping the kitchen floor? He didn’t. Jon worked at Red Cross. That meant carrying home gallons of blood packets after every night-shift for fifteen months prior to “bringing Winter to North Cal”. As I said earlier, certain sacrifices must be made for his wife.

      He rolled and rolled about the livingroom and the bathroom and especially his wife’s room, always keeping his arms and legs splayed. It’s starting to look like Christmas, thought Jon.

      The doorknob turned and door eased open. In came a woman of a black trench coat carrying shopping bags. One whiff of the place and she moaned, fainting face-first to the floor.

      Cold air breezed in.

      “Well, hell!” Jon said two hours later, as he stood over her rigid body. “You always a’ complainin’ about there being no Christmas in California. ‘Oh, Jon, how I’d like to see the snow fall.’ ‘Oh, Jon, how I’d kill to see some lovely snow-angels.’ Well, shoot. I go and save up well over a year, hauling these blood packets in (which would get me fired, if any’ my coworkers knew); and I go and make the goddamn snow-angels, and all you do is go an’ plank on top the one I worked the toughest on! Well, hell!”

      Then Jon began to roll on top of her, mopping blood all over her and her bags, and thought, Here’s your goddamn snow-angel! then got up.

      The woman lay bloody.

    • Terry says:

      The door creaked open.
      “Trevor?”
      It was about to begin again. Just like every other day since he’d been let go.
      “Trevor? Where are you?”
      Vicki didn’t even ask him how his day had been any more. As the months dragged on, she’d forgotten everything but his “quest”, as she called it, making those silly quote marks in the air with her fingers.
      “Oh, there you are. Did you call Mr Tranh this afternoon? I told him last week that you’d call today.”
      “Yeah, I called, but the line was engaged,” he replied.
      She leaned toward him, the tiny hairs above her top lip quivering.
      “Did you try again?,” she shouted, knowing that he hadn’t.
      “I was going to,” he said, “but —”. He flinched, waiting for the avalanche of blame that was about to engulf me. It was easy for her. She’s a bookkeeper. There’s a name for it. Everyone knows what she does, and people are always looking for bookkeepers.
      “For crying out loud, Trevor!” The volume rose as she built up steam — and he tuned out, escaping into the deep recesses of his mind.
      Eventually he risked a brief moment of awareness. That storm had passed. The sounds from the kitchen were ominous.
      “You could at least wash some dishes! It’s not like you’re short of time!” Another storm was building.
      It was time to get to the attic room and stay out of sight. And there was the grappa.
      Vicki hadn’t smelled it, but he’d had some of Giovanni’s grappa. Good old Giovanni. It was easier to forget about calling Mr Tranh after a few swallows of grappa.
      Giovanni had brought him four used beer bottles earlier in the afternoon, each filled with grappa and stoppered with old corks. The three remaining bottles were in the attic room.
      He took a swig and began to dream of being discovered, though he wasn’t sure for what.
      He didn’t see Vicki’s scathing glance next morning. He was asleep where he’d drunk and dreamed.
      “Escaped again,” she murmured. “I can’t keep doing this.”

    • They’re close now, almost inside. They rip and tear at the last of our barricades. I can hear them, everywhere, all around me, at the windows, doors and even on the roof. Their numbers have grown, nothing can stop them. We did this. We created this problem. We dug and dug so deeply into the Earth. So greedy were we to find more. More of everything, anything. Something to burn, to melt, to create another thing that could be sold. Never stopping to consider the consequences.

      Too late now. Our fate is sealed. Soon humans will be extinct. Thankfully, my wife and daughters are at peace, tucked into their deathbeds. Killing them was painful, but more merciful than the fate of some many others.

      I drink my last beer, the poison already working through my body. As the shadowy hand of death touches me, I pray there’s an afterlife. I pray that I will kiss my wife and hold my daughters once again.

    • Iris says:

      The gloomy and spooky weather creep June to her bone. She was used to the weather, dark and gloomy were a part of her but for some reason she didn’t like them tailing behind her today. Work has been rough on her that day, and she just wanted to be back home and sleep on her bed.

      Despite wanting to go back earlier than usual, she was called to check up on one of the iKon’s member, Hanbin who called in sick on that day. Great, now she has to baby-sit a big world star baby. She didn’t even have the time to argue, iKon’s manager already dragged her to their apartment.

      “I am dancer not a babysitter!” She grunted and forcefully entered the apartment. She was left alone in the apartment with a bowl of porridge to feed the big baby.

      The weather was perfect to sleep in but here she was in the middle of Gangnam tending the world most favourite band’s leader, Kim Hanbin. She wasn’t complaining because Kim Hanbin was a good looking eye-candy. She was desperate for her bed.

      Without making any sound for that she was afraid she would wake up Hanbin, she made her way to the kitchen to reheat the porridge.

      Hanbin was sleeping in his room when he heard noise from outside. It bugged him that he can’t go back to sleep but decided not do anything about it. He thought it was probably Bobby trying to find something he lost again.

      “I see you are awake,” it wasn’t a question nor was it a statement. June just barged into his room and made him eat the porridge. Seriously, what’s up with this girl.

      “You know, this is call trepassing private property, what are you doing here?” June had to roll her eyes on that question, clearly showing her displeasure.

      “If it wasn’t for your stupid manager for dragging me here, I wouldn’t be here. Be grateful and eat your food.” Hearing that, Hanbin couldn’t help but smile. His manager was the best, he’ll thank him later that night.

    • Mo says:

      Has anyone seen my head?

      (A la Ferris Bueller) “Anyone? Anyone?”

      “Where’d everyone go?”

      (Humming) “Hmmmmmmmmmn, dead man humming,” he chuckles.

      To himself.

      “Anyone?”

      “This isn’t funny guys. Seriously, I have a huge kernel of popcorn stuck in my tooth and it’s really bugging me.”

      “Was. It was really bugging me.”

      “Hello?”

      “I wonder if dental floss stock has plummeted since the invention of the dental pick. Hmmn.”

      “Those things are awwwwesome! Vintage pick on one end; uber, tiny brush on the other. I can pick all day!”

      “Maybe.”

      (Breaking into Pick-A-Little song from The Music Man)

      “Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
      Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

      Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,
      Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.”

      (Rousingly) “All the ladies, now…”

      “Nothin, huh?”

      “Well, now I’m just depressed.”

      “And tone deaf. I think.”

      “I think my head is so far up my ass, I can’t see straight!”

      (A la Harold from The Music Man) “Dirty books!!!!”

    • Mo says:

      Has anyone seen my head?

      (A la Ferris Bueller) “Anyone? Anyone?”

      “Where’d everyone go?”

      (Humming) “Hmmmmmmmmmn, dead man humming,” he chuckles.

      To himself.

      “Anyone?”

      “This isn’t funny guys. Seriously, I have a huge kernel of popcorn stuck in my tooth and it’s really bugging me.”

      “Was. It was really bugging me.”

      “Hello?”

      “I wonder if dental floss stock has plummeted since the invention of the dental pick. Hmmn.”

      “Those things are awwwwesome! Vintage pick on one end; uber, tiny brush on the other. I can pick all day!”

      “Maybe.”

      (Breaking into Pick-A-Little song from The Music Man)

      “Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
      Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

      Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,
      Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.”

      (Rousingly) “All the ladies, now…”

      “Nothin, huh?”

      “Well, now I’m just depressed.”

      “And tone deaf. I think.”

      “And, I think my head is so far up my ass, I can’t see straight!”

      (A la Harold from The Music Man) “Dirty books!!!!”

    • Wadey says:

      Wayne was happy and contented. He no longer had to live on the street. He found the end of a hallway that was light, airy and didn’t provide access for anyone. It was like a dead end. He could set up camp here and not bother anyone.

      The hallway had a shelf running along its length. Wayne thought this would be ideal for putting some of the treasures he often found, up out of the way until such time as he needed them. No need to hide stuff anymore, like he had to when sleeping on the street.

      Over a period of a few days, he was able to find an armchair that someone left out on the footpath. The colour was awful, the back sagged, and it had a few scuffmarks, but it would do the job. Later he found a cushion that he could use to fill in the sagging back of the arm chair, a filing cabinet he could use for a pantry and an old rug to make the floor look more homely.

      Life couldn’t be better thought Wayne as he sat back in his chair and looked at his new digs.

      But, life just seemed to be getting better by the day for Wayne. He hit the jackpot. He found an old fridge outside a motel. And the best part? There was a power outlet in his new place, right where he needed it. He lugged the fridge back to his dead- end hall accommodation, inserted the power plug, flicked the switch and it worked!!!

      Wayne was so pleased with himself, he went down to the local bar and bought a couple of beers. As he walked up the stairs toward his little abode at the end of the hall, he didn’t see the two aliens standing on his pantry.

      The male with the blue head looked up, and saw Wayne as a threat to himself and his lady. His eyes lit up with a fiery red colour and, ZZZAAAPPP,… A laser beam hit Wayne right between the eyes.

      Wayne fell forward, into a dead end.

    • Ronda Cook says:

      His hand trembled as he brought the bottle to his mouth. He could taste his breath when his lips touched the rim. The swig of yeast, barley and hops didn’t satisfy his craving. He paced the small barren room, wondering what was taking Raven so long. Hadn’t it been at least an hour since she left? A car door slammed. He ran to the door to see if it was her. Relief washed over him as he saw Raven walking towards him.

      “Did you get it?” he asks. She nods and hands him two small bags containing white powder. He grabs his tools from the top drawer of the file cabinet, and carefully pours the contents of one bag into a spoon. He inserts a syringe into Raven’s bottle of water and draws up 20cc. He squirts the water into the spoon and watches the white powder dance around as it turns to liquid. He moves his lighter back and forth under the spoon until it bubbles. The sickly sweet smell turns his stomach while his heart races with anticipation.

      “Are you ready?” he asks her. Again she nods and places a piece of cigarette filter into the burning liquid. He fills the syringe from the filter and inserts the needle into Raven’s outstretched arm. He pulls back the plunger and a drop of blood finds its way up into syringe, mixing with the clear substance. Raven slumps back in the lone chair. She closes her eyes and smiles. Heaven!

      Now it’s his turn. Sweat drips from his brow, clouding his vision as he repeats the steps. Water. Dance. Cook. Bubble. Filter. Syringe. His body aches for the sweet release that’s about to take place. Stick. Slight burn, but it’s a direct hit. Ecstasy flows through his veins. He reaches for his beer, but as he raises it to his mouth, he is overcome with a heaviness he can’t explain. It’s the last thing he remembers.

    • Tess heard a scream from her roommate Vanessa, she jumped from her bed and ran down the stairs, Vanessa was standing in her study Henry’s was lying flat on the floor, a beer bottle on the side of the room, his jeans covered in sand and his shoes and shirt were missing.
      Darly come into the room and burst out in laughter.
      “What happened last night Darly, why is Henry here?” Tess said looking at him laughing. “Where is his shirt and shoes and why are his jeans wet with sand.”
      “Last night after this graduation dinner, we decided to continue the party so the headed to Tia’s beach party at the coast beach. That party was lively people everywhere, dancing on the beach and drinking. Henry got a bit too excited, he had two beers at the graduation party and he was on his third beer at the beach party all of a sudden he ran on the dancefloor and started stripping, his tie went out first and then his shirt, that was embarrassing but it caused so much laughter.” Darly said as he drank the coffee and the girls listened.
      “Then he removed his socks and shoes and ran to the beach with his beer bottle, James and I followed him. Henry entered the water and we tried to remove him but he put a fight so we left him there, after the party was over we walked to the beach and he was lying on the sand holding the beer bottle and the waves had soaked his jeans. Since your house was the closet, we decided to put him here until morning. By the way the stripping bit was put on you tube.” Darly said laughing as the girls rushed to open their computer to watch Henry stripping.
      Henry woke up, he had a headache and did not know how he got into Vanessa’s house or why his jeans was wet, he stood up and walked to the kitchen and heard the girls laughing and saw himself stripping and he shouted no as the girls continued laughing.

    • Brian says:

      ‘Are you ready?’
      ‘For what?’
      ‘What do you think?’
      ‘Don’t hassle me. What time is it?’
      ‘Three o’clock. I come to pick you up. You said you were coming.’
      ‘What?’
      ‘It’s Sunday.’
      ‘Man I’ve lost two whole days. The last thing I remember is Friday.’

    • Benjamin David says:

      Yetu and Yera

      By Benjamin David

      The sound of the door opening shattered the silence in the small room. It closed with a crash causing the large painting on the wall to tremble as though in fear. Silence reigned for a moment. Then a man stumbled around the corner. He was a tall, thin man with sparse dirty blonde hair. Shirtless and shoeless with a half-empty bottle of beer in one hand, clearly the night had not been kind to him.

      He wavered slightly then regained his balance and dropped heavily into the solitary chair in the tiny apartment. After a few loud burps and hiccups the man drained the bottle before dropping it on the floor where it rolled a few feet away, as though even it preferred a bit of distance. The man’s head lolled and dropped back onto the chair. Finally asleep!

      “Now!” Yetu yanked at his sisters’ hand and together they leapt onto the man’s lap. “Grab his right hand, I’ll take his left.” Yera commanded. It was a tough pull but with their combined strength they managed to pull the man’s limp body forward until his head hung between his knees.

      As though rehearsed they both jumped behind the man and with their tiny backs pressed against the chair, they pushed their feet against the man’s almost non-existent backside and pushed him onto the floor. He tumbled awkwardly headfirst onto the carpet and lay still.

      Yetu and Yera heaved, pushed and grunted until the man was spread-eagle in the center of the rug. “That’s perfect.” Yetu puffed. “He looks so skinny but oh my god he’s one heavy son of a bitch!”

      “You got that right!” Yera agreed as she flopped onto her back and gasped to regain her breath. “Gimme a minute!”

      After a few moments of breathing, they got up. One by one, they jumped onto the chair and back on top of the filing cabinet.

      “This never gets old!” Brother and sister shared an evil grin.

      The man farted loudly then fell into a deep alcohol-induced sleep.

      Silence regained control once again.

    • Chris P says:

      ‘RAID’

      “Are you ready, Blue?” She looked across at him, “I know this is your first time…” she smiled reassuringly, “but you needn’t worry.”

      Blue grabbed Magenta’s hand, “Yeah… I’ll be OK, I suppose…” He rolled his eyes as if embarrassed by what he was going to say, “It’s just… Oh y’know… They say it feels really weird and some people throw up…”

      She squeezed his hand, “Yeah… It can. I won’t deny it, but it’s worth it.” She smiled that smile again. “Trust me, Blue. You really won’t believe it.”

      “OK… Ready when you are. Touch the pad… Quickly, before I change my mind.” Magenta nodded, then reached across to the control pad. She looked across the room to the technician. He nodded and touched his pad too. The two figures in the ‘gate’ went misty and faded to nothing.

      * * *

      Blue gripped the girl’s arm, “There’s someone there… He’s enormous… What do…”

      She interrupted him, “It’s OK… He can’t see us yet…” she raised her hand. It held a round silver ball. The figure in front collapsed onto the floor, but the loud thump Blue would expect to hear was absent. “There… Sorted, OK?”

      “Is he alright?… Won’t that fall have hurt him?”

      “No, the ball minimises his weight… He’ll be a bit puzzled when he returns, but that’s all.” She turned to look at Blue, “Can you see your vision becoming gradually sharper now?”

      Blue nodded, “Yeah… What’s happening?”

      “That’s why we have the ball… to stun them so they can’t see us when we’ve ‘cleared’.”

      “And…” he looked at her, then back to the supine figure. “Is… Is… Is that really what we used to look like all those millennia ago?” He stuttered incredulously, “Big?… like that?”

      She nodded, “Yeah… Big like that. Now c’mon, move. We’ve got to get the stuff and return to our own time. Then we’ll be rich, right?”

      “Right… an’ it’s through that doorway, is it?”

      She nodded, “Sure is… They grew them, thousands of tonnes of them. Not for jewellery, though. They called them ‘rice’ grains.”

    • Ronda Cook says:

      His hand trembled as he brought the bottle to his mouth. He could taste his breath when his lips touched the rim. The swig of yeast, barley and hops didn’t satisfy his craving. He paced the small barren room, wondering what was taking Raven so long. Hadn’t it been at least an hour since she left? A car door slammed. He ran to the door to see if it was her. Relief washed over him as he saw Raven walking towards him.

      “Did you get it?” he asks. She nods and hands him two small bags containing white powder. He grabs his tools from the top drawer of the file cabinet, and carefully pours the contents of one bag into a spoon. He inserts a syringe into Raven’s bottle of water and draws up 20cc. He squirts the water into the spoon and watches the white powder dance around as it turns to liquid. He moves his lighter back and forth under the spoon until it bubbles. The sickly sweet smell turns his stomach while his heart races with anticipation.

      “Are you ready?” he asks her. Again she nods and places a piece of cigarette filter into the burning liquid. He fills the syringe from the filter and inserts the needle into Raven’s outstretched arm. He pulls back the plunger and a drop of blood finds its way up into syringe, mixing with the clear substance. Raven slumps back in the lone chair. She closes her eyes and smiles. Heaven!

      Now it’s his turn. Sweat drips from his brow, clouding his vision as he repeats the steps. Water. Dance. Cook. Bubble. Filter. Syringe. His body aches for the sweet release that’s about to take place. Stick. Slight burn, but it’s a direct hit. Ecstasy flows through his veins. He reaches for his beer, but as he raises it to his mouth, he is overcome with a heaviness he can’t explain. It’s the last thing he remembers.

    • James Syring says:

      Sammy Jo Wiggins thought he heard a noise outside his double wide in Harumph County Nevada. A bit unsteady on his feet after that fifth Coors Light, he stepped out into the clear, moonlit night. He looked around, saw nothing and was about to go back in when he spotted the two troll dolls near his truck. He couldn’t think of how they got there but figured he’d give them to his girl, Bobbi Jean. He went to pick up one of them and the shock that ran up his arm almost stopped his heart. He fell hard and was trying to clear his head and get up when the other troll swung a huge nerf ball bat that weighed a ton and cold cocked him. Now, the aliens have him in the observation room on their ship and they are anxious for him to wake up so they can question him about life on his planet as they will need this information when they have to abandon their home on Exalar and colonize this place called earth.

      • Chris P says:

        Nice one, James. You spotted them too.

      • Shayna A. says:

        It is unfortunate that it has come to this, but some people have to learn the hard way. Drew was never the sharpest tool in the shed. Physical confrontations were the only way he seemed to learn anything. A proper knockout would set him straight.
        He had recently ended up in a shabby one room rental after he found himself on the outs with everybody, including his own family. With a blacklisting akin to an Amish shunning, he found himself practically broke, but not entirely alone. Sheila, he thought, would be the one person whom he could count on, but that tart ran back to Jason quicker than a New York minute.
        They took up with one another when she and her boyfriend Jason had a falling out, but it wasn’t a good idea. Jason was his best friend since childhood and everybody knew each other like family, so it left a bad taste in their mouths and his betrayal angered more than just his friend.
        Technically, it wasn’t an affair, but there are rules to shacking up with exes or relatives and Drew knew better, but he had been Sheila’s constant comfort when Jason was out of hand and they naturally took it further when that relationship seemingly imploded. Sheila knew better too, but she also knew she didn’t want to be alone and needed a place to stay.
        It should not have been a surprise when Jason and his brothers showed up that day to teach Drew the lesson he should have already learned. Sheila let them in, unsuspectingly, and Drew stood up from his seat, shirtless and barefoot, with beer in hand. He didn’t even get to put down his beer before the first punch made it fly, and when it was done, he was on the floor, out cold, and Sheila was back with Jason just like that.
        He will remember this lesson when he wakes up.

    • Celia Seow says:

      May was sitting in her den. Her fingers hovered over her computer keyboard. It’s time for her to sort out her life story. The image of Ken, lying dead shirtless on the rug of his newly-renovated –trailer, had lain upon her conscience and etched deep in her mind. It continued to haunt her after all these years.

      She had stormed back into his trailer wanted to give him another round of her angry breath. How could he be so selfish and refused to commit himself to her after what she had been through for him? She had sacrificed her marriage and her reputation in the community just so she could have the love of her life; that was him. But when she came by in the morning, on her fiftieth birthday with her one suitcase in tow, he was angry with her. Now she knew what he had wanted was to have easy access to sex and fun with no string attached. What he would die for was to have a lover and not a real partner in life. He wanted freedom and not a commitment to tie him down. Was it as simple as he would like her to believe him?

      “If you insist on that, it would be the end of our relationship,” he had shouted as she slammed the door behind her, suitcase and all.

      Now at fifty-eight, she had moved east, living in a condominium, overlooking Lake Ontario, single and childless. She’s making peace with what life had thrown her way. A single tear drop ran down her face. She shifted in her chair. Her fingers flew across her keyboard.

    • Judith Krouse says:

      Shelia opened the door. Signing, she thought: ‘Drunk again.’
      Walking closer, she saw the bottle of oil. ‘What,’ she thought.
      Tucking Jim’s left arm under him, she turned him over. He stirred a bit with an ‘a’.
      “Jim, what happened?” she asked, slapping his face tenderly.
      “What?” he responded. “I was going to make you a nice dessert and I tripped on this rug.”
      “Well, that was nice of you, but how did you trip on the rug, it is smooth, with no bumps?”
      “Let me think, I was thinking about you and that you would be home soon and that I should hurry with the cake. I was going to sit in the chair and read what the recipe said. And that is not easy. How do you read these things.
      But before I could get to the chair—now I remember I started to dance to the music on the stereo and sort of tripped over my feet. Fell down hard and must of passed out.
      I hope you like the cake —when I get it finished.?
      “Oh, Jim, that is so sweet of you. Let’s make the cake together. That will be fun, won’t it?”
      “Yes, darling. I would love that. And when we dance we will do it together too.

    • Ashley Parker says:

      It was advertised as a bedsit, but as I walked in the door one thing was painfully obvious, there was no bed.

      “Only $80a week, mate. What d’ya expect, the bloody Hilton?!” declared the old man as he showed me the room. “Take it or leave it, it’s no skin off my nose. Phone’s been running off the bloody hook so don’t muck me about”. He sniffed impatiently, wiping the whiskery nose in question along his forearm, leaving a glistening sheen along the sleeve of his faded red chequered shirt.

      I threw the duffle bag off my shoulder on to the floor. “I’ll take it”, I sighed wearily and peeled four $20 bills off the wad from my back pocket and thrust them at the odious old fella.

      “I’ll be wanting another $80, week in advance” he demanded, eyeing the wad of cash greedily. I thrust another $80 at him without arguing. There was no paperwork, I liked that. I steered him out the door as he yabbered on about noise control, no pets, no overnight guests. It was all fine by me. I locked the door and leant against it, looking out into the room. I’d seen worse.

      The only furniture in the room was a threadbare pink armchair, a beer fridge, a microwave oven, scabby with the remains of someone’s last supper, some drawers and a weird collection of ornaments which I could only guess were a failed attempt at making the place homely.

      I dragged the armchair over to wedge it against the door and squatted down on the floor to open the bag. I drew out two bottles of beer, cracked the top on one and put the other in fridge. The only other item in the bag was my black gun case. Taking out the scope I slowly rose up and went to the window. It had the perfect aspect, as I knew it would. I’m good at this that’s why people hire me.

      I set my watch to wake me, finished the beer and lay down on the floor to wait.

      • Terry says:

        Nice! Not sure that beer is conducive to sharpshooting, but nicely written.

    • Bohdanka says:

      Sam came home from work late, as usual. Put the keys on a desk, turned on a TV, and grabbed some chips from the table. He used to repeat his evening rituals day by day without even noticing it. Sam took off his shoes and T-shirt with the intention to take a shower. Suddenly he felt extremely tired and sat on a couch in front of the TV set. It wasn’t that physical fatigue that you feel in your muscles after a workout, but emotional tiredness filling all his mind and body. Sam closed his eyes and started thinking of all the things he would like be doing instead of lying on that shabby stupid couch. He would’ve finally asked Lily to go out and they would spend a wonderful evening at that charming restaurant near the river. He would’ve finally learned how to play guitar and it wouldn’t be covered with dust in his wardrobe. He would’ve finally bought plane tickets and flown to the sea which he had never seen before. He would’ve finally quit his job making him ill on a daily basis and tried something new, risky and adventurous… Sam’s train of thoughts could have taken him far from his apartments, but the loud sound from another room interrupted his dreams. He stood out of the couch and went to check it out. The light in another room was turned on and the window was broken with the glass laid all over the place. Before Sam could figure out what to do, he felt a sharp pain in his head from behind. He felt on a carpet losing his conscious and all his missed plans.
      You never know when someone could hit your head with a bottle of beer. So live your life like there’s no tomorrow.

    • Jan Guilory says:

      “I don’t remember how many beers, it was a football weekend. Sometimes, you just don’t make it to the chair, that’s all.”

      “Do you remember falling?”

      Richard thought Doctor Culver was a lump in a chair who always missed the point. His desk clock faced paying clients.

      “What? No, I distinctly remember turning the TV off,” Richard said, “and I didn’t just fall like a tree. You see any damage on my face?”

      Culver had counseled Richard for eight tedious years. Richard was a teenager with a more resonant voice and much larger body. His parents paid for the sessions. Richard did work, however.

      Richard delivered pizza and made pretty good tips. He bought his own dorm refrigerator, the TV, the rug. The Kewpie Dolls were his mother’s idea. It’ll brighten things up in here, Rich!

      His parents were concerned about their son, who dropped out of law school one semester short of a degree, began working for a pizza chain and renovating the narrow tool room at the back of the garage. He told his father he would pay rent.

      Two trips to alcohol rehabilitation, the renovation was completed and Richard moved into The Long And Narrow. It was his mailing address.

      “Richard,” Doctor Culver leaned in and propped his elbows on his desk, “Don’t you think you owe your parents an explanation for your conduct? What about your future?”

      Richard is stunned by Culver’s sudden transformation.

      “An explanation?

      “Yes, Richard. Why? Law school, the pizza job, passing out? Do you have any plans other than the status quo?”

      Culver’s office is a comfortable room with gosling grey walls. A window overlooks a courtyard with a cherub fountain. Richard watches water pour from its granite urn.

      “Is that what all these years have been about, an explanation?”

      Richard stands, towers over Culver’s desk.

      “Simple. I got tired of being unhappy, now I am. If I drink too many beers at least I lay down on my rug.”

      Richard heads for the outer door and pauses.

      “Please tell my mother the Kewpie Dolls suck.”

      The door closes. Doctor Culver smiles.

      “I don’t remember how many beers, it was a football weekend. Sometimes, you just don’t make it to the chair, that’s all.”

      “Do you remember falling?”

      Richard thought Doctor Culver was a lump in a chair who always missed the point. His desk clock faced paying clients.

      “What? No, I distinctly remember turning the TV off,” Richard said, “and I didn’t just fall like a tree. You see any damage on my face?”

      Culver had counseled Richard for eight tedious years. Richard was a teenager with a more resonant voice and much larger body. His parents paid for the sessions. Richard did work, however.

      Richard delivered pizza and made pretty good tips. He bought his own dorm refrigerator, the TV, the rug. The Kewpie Dolls were his mother’s idea. It’ll brighten things up in here, Rich!

      His parents were concerned about their son, who dropped out of law school one semester short of a degree, began working for a pizza chain and renovating the narrow tool room at the back of the garage. He told his father he would pay rent.

      Two trips to alcohol rehabilitation, the renovation was completed and Richard moved into The Long And Narrow. It was his mailing address.

      “Richard,” Doctor Culver leaned in and propped his elbows on his desk, “Don’t you think you owe your parents an explanation for your conduct? What about your future?”

      Richard is stunned by Culver’s sudden transformation.

      “An explanation?

      “Yes, Richard. Why? Law school, the pizza job, passing out? Do you have any plans other than the status quo?”

      Culver’s office is a comfortable room with gosling grey walls. A window overlooks a courtyard with a cherub fountain. Richard watches water pour from its granite urn.

      “Is that what all these years have been about, an explanation?”

      Richard stands, towers over Culver’s desk.

      “Simple. I got tired of being unhappy, now I am. If I drink too many beers at least I lay down on my rug.”

      Richard heads for the outer door and pauses.

      “Please tell my mother the Kewpie Dolls suck.”

      The door closes. Doctor Culver smiles.

    • Karen Bissenden says:

      No socks
      Gone! Blown. Blew my socks right off. Knew those microwaves were powerful. And in those trendy new tiny houses, size of a freckle and a fart, well those microwaves just build up and build up, like a mold except invisible, more devious and deadly.
      Ok, don’t accuse, I tried. I put in one of those exhaust pipe things, “Wave Out Wind” I think they’re called. A damn nuisance, I tell you. Do you know anything about tiny houses? That pipe went straight up through my loft. I’m serious. Every night I’d roll over and klunk, wake me up, and klunk, wake me up,all night long. Insomnia, and that pipe, my undoing. Ok, I should have opened the windows, or get rid of the killer appliance to save my life. I tried that trick, until icicles formed on the ceiling and woke me with their drips. Klunk, klunk, drip. And on those sleepless nights I’d calculate, keep or toss, keep or toss. Keep won out. Steven King has nothing on the horror of cold coffee.
      I’m a trusting sort. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories or Sasquatch or aliens landing. Or I didn’t. But yesterday, I came in, delirious with sleep deprivation, in looking for my overdue library books and just before I hit the floor, I saw them, aliens, they’d come down that damn pipe, and set the microwave on nuclear blast, mega boost. Knocked my bottle of Jolt flying. Hardly had a sip. The curtains weren’t wrinkled before, the carpet was floral, totally messed up my interior design.
      I don’t know who took that picture, great butt shot, gads. It’s on Face Book. Still can’t find my socks.

      KLBissenden

    • The man lay bloody.

      We do what we gotta do, us husbands, the man thought, and then began to convulse across the hallway carpet. Blood splotched the walls and smeared into the carpet like a messy lipstick job. Handprints and footprints without much pressure put into them left rough impressions of fingers and toes on the ivory fabric. The man wasn’t hurt. The man was Jon.

      Jon knew certain sacrifices must be made for his wife. He stayed strong, and labored on. Hours and hours passed and, in that time, their two-story house transformed into a crime-scene site. The stench was awful.

      How had Jon lost so much blood as to refurbish the couch and swamp the kitchen floor? He did not. Jon worked at Red Cross. That meant carrying home gallons of blood packets every night after night-shift for fifteen months prior to what he called “bringing Winter to North Cal”. As I said earlier, certain sacrifices must be made for his wife.

      He rolled and rolled about the living room and the bathroom and especially his wife’s room, always keeping his arms and legs splayed. It’s starting to look like Christmas, thought Jon.

      The door-knob turned. The door eased open. In came a woman in a black trench coat, hauling eco-friendly shopping bags. She took one step in. One whiff, and she moaned, fainting to the floor face-first.

      Cold air breezed in.

      “Well, hell!” Jon said two hours later, when he stood before her rigid body. “You always a’ complainin’ about there being no Christmas in California. ‘Oh, Jon, how I’d like to see the snow fall.’ ‘Oh, Jon, how I’d kill to see some lovely snow-angels.’ Well, shoot. I go and save up well over a year, hauling these blood packets in (which would get me fired, if any’ my coworkers knew); and I go and make the goddamn snow-angels, and all you do is go an’ plank on top the one I worked the toughest on! Well, hell!”

      Jon then began to roll on top of her, smearing blood all over her black trench coat, and thought; Here’s your goddamn snow-angel!

      And the woman lay bloody below the man.

    • Ronda Cook says:

      His hand trembled as he brought the bottle to his mouth. He could taste his breath when his lips touched the rim. The swig of yeast, barley and hops didn’t satisfy his craving. He paced the small barren room, wondering what was taking Raven so long. Hadn’t it been at least an hour since she left? A car door slammed. He ran to the door to see if it was her. Relief washed over him as he saw Raven walking towards him.

      “Did you get it?” he asks. She nods and hands him two small bags containing white powder. He grabs his tools from the top drawer of the file cabinet, and carefully pours the contents of one bag into a spoon. He inserts a syringe into Raven’s bottle of water and draws up 20cc. He squirts the water into the spoon and watches the white powder dance around as it turns to liquid. He moves his lighter back and forth under the spoon until it bubbles. The sickly sweet smell turns his stomach while his heart races with anticipation.

      “Are you ready?” he asks her. Again she nods and places a piece of cigarette filter into the burning liquid. He fills the syringe from the filter and inserts the needle into Raven’s outstretched arm. He pulls back the plunger and a drop of blood finds its way up into syringe, mixing with the clear substance. Raven slumps back in the lone chair. She closes her eyes and smiles. Heaven!

      Now it’s his turn. Sweat drips from his brow, clouding his vision as he repeats the steps. Water. Dance. Cook. Bubble. Filter. Syringe. His body aches for the sweet release that’s about to take place. Stick. Slight burn, but it’s a direct hit. Ecstasy flows through his veins. He reaches for his beer, but as he raises it to his mouth, he is overcome with a heaviness he can’t explain. It’s the last thing he remembers.

    • Shayna says:

      It is unfortunate that it has come to this, but some people have to learn the hard way. Drew was never the sharpest tool in the shed. Physical confrontations were the only way he seemed to learn anything. A proper knockout would set him straight.
      He had recently ended up in a shabby one room rental after he found himself on the outs with everybody, including his own family. With a blacklisting akin to an Amish shunning, he found himself practically broke, but not entirely alone. Sheila, he thought, would be the one person whom he could count on, but that tart ran back to Jason quicker than a New York minute.
      They took up with one another when she and her boyfriend Jason had a falling out, but it wasn’t a good idea. Jason was his best friend since childhood and everybody knew each other like family, so it left a bad taste in their mouths and his betrayal angered more than just his friend.
      Technically, it wasn’t an affair, but there are rules to shacking up with exes or relatives and Drew knew better, but he had been Sheila’s constant comfort when Jason was out of hand and they naturally took it further when that relationship seemingly imploded. Sheila knew better too, but she also knew she didn’t want to be alone and needed a place to stay.
      It should not have been a surprise when Jason and his brothers showed up that day to teach Drew the lesson he should have already learned. Sheila let them in, unsuspectingly, and Drew stood up from his seat, shirtless and barefoot, with beer in hand. He didn’t even get to put down his beer before the first punch made it fly, and when it was done, he was on the floor, out cold, and Sheila was back with Jason just like that.
      He will remember this lesson when he wakes up.

    • Rexford.Finegan says:

      It was a night of begging for forgiveness.

      At the restaurant, I confessed to my date that she was the one that I have chosen.
      I admired. I was seeing other women. She stared in silence at me with shock, scowl, and disgust.

      I was guilty. After so many dates. Yet. Shame and desperate. She was the one and I will come clean.

      “How could you do this to me!” she screamed “All this time!”. I shifted uncomfortably while it seemed like time stopped and the whole restaurant was staring at me. I mumbled and nodded towards the waiter for the check. She glared. Fuming.

      “Honey, I had to be sure”. Trying to salvage the revelation. “What!” she exclaimed. “You lead me all along to believe that I was the one. Especially in bed!” With a cold stare she says “You deceitful bastard!” I turned and glared at the other people dining as they shifted their eyes.

      The waiter brought the check and I ordered two cocktails. “Make that a triple for me” she said in a venomous tone. It scared me for a moment. The drink could not get here soon enough.

      “So?” she glared “Anything else?”

      Apprehensive I replied foolish, “I have fallen in love with you but am afraid because I have never been in love”.

      “Yea right” she barked back. “And now?” The drinks arrived. We drank and talked until closing. She did not walk out.

      Closing time. I shrewdly suggested we have a nightcap at my apartment. With a slur she said “Of course, you have to make amends”. Puzzled. I paid the tab.

      Outside hailing a cab. She kept hanging on my shoulder trying not to stumble off the curb. I saw a cab approaching. While hailing, she immediately grab my groin causing pain. I shoved her. Then the sickening noise of somebody being run over by a car enveloped my ears. Other people waiting for a cab screamed in horror. I ran.

      In my apartment, I tore of my shirt and threw of my shoes. Blood. I could not reach another drink.

    • Jonathan Pasco says:

      The man lay bloody.

      We do what we gotta do, us husbands, the man thought, and then began to convulse across the hallway carpet. Blood splotched the walls and smeared into the carpet like a messy lipstick job. Handprints and footprints without much pressure put into them left rough impressions of fingers and toes on the ivory fabric. The man wasn’t hurt. The man was Jon.

      Jon knew certain sacrifices must be made for his wife. He stayed strong, and labored on. Hours and hours passed and, in that time, their two-story house transformed into a crime-scene site. The stench was awful.

      How had Jon lost so much blood as to refurbish the couch and swamp the kitchen floor? He did not. Jon worked at Red Cross. That meant carrying home gallons of blood packets every night after night-shift for fifteen months prior to what he called “bringing Winter to North Cal”. As I said earlier, certain sacrifices must be made for his wife.

      He rolled and rolled about the living room and the bathroom and especially his wife’s room, always keeping his arms and legs splayed. It’s starting to look like Christmas, thought Jon.

      The door-knob turned. The door eased open. In came a woman in a black trench coat, hauling eco-friendly shopping bags. She took one step in. One whiff, and she moaned, fainting to the floor face-first.

      Cold air breezed in.

      “Well, hell!” Jon said two hours later, when he stood before her rigid body. “You always a’ complainin’ about there being no Christmas in California. ‘Oh, Jon, how I’d like to see the snow fall.’ ‘Oh, Jon, how I’d kill to see some lovely snow-angels.’ Well, shoot. I go and save up well over a year, hauling these blood packets in (which would get me fired, if any’ my coworkers knew); and I go and make the goddamn snow-angels, and all you do is go an’ plank on top the one I worked the toughest on! Well, hell!”

      Jon then began to roll on top of her, smearing blood all over her black trench coat, and thought; Here’s your goddamn snow-angel!

      And the woman lay bloody below the man.

    • Rexford Finegan says:

      It was a night of begging for forgiveness.

      At the restaurant, I confessed to my date that she was the one that I have chosen.
      I admired. I was seeing other women. She stared in silence at me with shock, scowl, and disgust.

      I was guilty. After so many dates. Yet. Shame and desperate. She was the one and I will come clean.

      “How could you do this to me!” she screamed “All this time!”. I shifted uncomfortably while it seemed like time stopped and the whole restaurant was staring at me. I mumbled and nodded towards the waiter for the check. She glared. Fuming.

      “Honey, I had to be sure”. Trying to salvage the revelation. “What!” she exclaimed. “You lead me all along to believe that I was the one. Especially in bed!” With a cold stare she says “You deceitful bastard!” I turned and glared at the other people dining as they shifted their eyes.

      The waiter brought the check and I ordered two cocktails. “Make that a triple for me” she said in a venomous tone. It scared me for a moment. The drink could not get here soon enough.

      “So?” she glared “Anything else?”

      Apprehensive I replied foolish, “I have fallen in love with you but am afraid because I have never been in love”.

      “Yea right” she barked back. “And now?” The drinks arrived. We drank and talked until closing. She did not walk out.

      Closing time. I shrewdly suggested we have a nightcap at my apartment. With a slur she said “Of course, you have to make amends”. Puzzled. I paid the tab.

      Outside hailing a cab. She kept hanging on my shoulder trying not to stumble off the curb. I saw a cab approaching. While hailing, she immediately grab my groin causing pain. I shoved her. Then the sickening noise of somebody being run over by a car enveloped my ears. Other people waiting for a cab screamed in horror. I ran.

      In my apartment, I tore of my shirt and threw of my shoes. Blood. I could not reach another drink.

    • JFG says:

      John could never handle rejection. His longtime girlfriend, Pam, packed up her things and just left. She was tired of him not seeing a doctor for his depression. Instead of seeing a doctor, he found solace in a whiskey bottle.

      Pam researched alcoholism. She found that alcohol is a depressant and not a stimulant. She was not a doctor; however, she was certain John had an anxiety disorder. The whisky made John feel better for a few hours. As he sobered up, the hangover was devastating. He became obsessed with finding more whisky.

      John was nasty to Pam. He accused her of sleeping with other men. He used the foulest of language to call her names. He was never physically violent but the mental abuse was as hurtful as a fist. The next day, he was apologetic and claimed he didn’t remember.

      When John found out she left, he resorted to his old behavior and consumed copious amounts of whiskey. He was trying to sit in his chair. He couldn’t stand up. He couldn’t walk. He passed out on the rug. There he would remain until morning and the destructive behavior would start again.

    • Bill Hunter says:

      The first thing he noticed was the itchy feeling against his cheek. As he open his eyes his purple chair came into focus. The pounding pain in his head proved he was alive. Seconds passed before his thoughts cleared enough to get up. He tried to lift his arm but it didn’t respond. Panic shot through him as his legs didn’t respond either.

      Then he heard the sound of footsteps on the hardwood floor. Who was it? This was his basement. What was this person doing in his house? Louder and louder they grew until they synchronized with the pounding of his head. Thump! Thump!

      “Help me!” he screamed, but his mouth didn’t move. The room remained silent, except for the footsteps which were now muffled by the carpet. He could smell a woman perfume. It seemed familiar, but he couldn’t place it.

      He strained his eyes to see but his angle was blocked by his shoulder. A chirp from a cell phone confirmed someone was standing behind him. It continued to ring without an answer. He felt the slightest touch on his left wrist, then a quick check of his pulse. The ringing stopped. The muffled sound of a voice from the other side of the conversation filled the room.

      “Yes. He’s ready,” she said. The accent was British, but he didn’t know anyone from Britain.

    • Himani says:

      Michael was having a bad day at work since he couldn’t focus. He left office early complaining of a headache.
      Now on his 8th beer, he still couldn’t shake off the feeling of disgust.
      “How could Jenny be fucking that old turd.”
      But it didn’t come as a shock. Michael knew something was wrong from the very beginning.
      Jenny used to talk about Mr. Lenny all day telling Micheal how efficient and stylish and charming her boss was. Then suddenly she stopped talking about him. Not a word. But there was a change in the way she would dress for office. She would spend a long time deciding everything from her lengerie to clothes to perfume. Michael did not have a degree in reading women’s behaviour but it doesn’t take a genius to know when your wife is spending more time dressing for office than going on a date with you, there is something fishy.
      When Jenny went to shower in the morning, leaving her mail open, it was unfortunate that Mr. Lenny’s message telling Jenny what color lengerie to wear had to pop up when Micheal was passing by.
      “Could it be for a promotion.”
      But he knows his Jenny. She will never ever compromise on anything for a promotion.
      “Unless, ofcourse she wanted it.”
      A vein in Micheal’s head started throbbing violently and wouldn’t stop.
      “Am I having a heart attack.”
      “No, I am okay. It’s nothing. Maybe my pressure is high.”
      And then an uncouth voice distubed Micheal’s self-inspection.
      “Hey boy, you are blocking my view.”
      “What vie…”
      Micheal looked ahead and saw a girl in white dress sitting alone, working on her laptop just like Jenny does.
      “That hot piece of ass sitting behing you.”
      “Mind your own business fuckhead, you’ve had enough to drink.”
      “Not yet.”
      “That slut? What did you say? Did you just call my wife a slut?”
      “Hey man, I didn’t know she’s your wife and I didn’t call her no sl..”
      Micheal broke the beer bottle on the man’s head before he could finish the sentence and then threw a punch and another and another.
      And that was the last thing he remembers. The man’s friends beat Micheal untill he couldn’t take anymore. They would’ve beat him to pulp but cops came in and the gang fled.
      Micheal woke up in the middle of the night and saw three tubes extracting from his body and stretched out to the nearby desk.
      “I have to talk to Jenny.”
      “I will forgive her if she says sorry and comes back to me.”
      The tubes were a little painful to get rid of but he removed them all and slipped out. In the taxi, he was thinking of things to say to make Jenny feel more guilty and sorry.
      At home, he kicked the fridge, lost balance and fell for his foot was already plastered. He punched the floor a few times and stopped before his knuckles started bleeding. Lying on the floor, Micheal had another beer and tore the letter that read: “Today is late night office party. Will stay at Megan’s. See you tomorrow. Love xoxo” into a million pieces before passing out.

      • Himani, you really managed to pack A LOT into your micro story!

    • lion voice says:

      I’m looking at myself…
      White wall…Purple sofa…and half-naked me…
      Is it me? I do not know…
      Why I am lying on the floor…
      I drunk yesterday…but wait for a moment!I never drink…
      It is John!!!He gave me a cup of soft drinks…And ,oh,yes,good taste…Then…I looked at myself…
      The small room is still a small room.
      The white wall is still white..
      I want to enjoy in my purple sofa…But I can not move any more…
      John is my roommate, he is a bit weird…
      But why me…
      Last week I laughed at John, I said that you are a single wretch,John.
      Whether it is now the reason for all this…
      Asphyxia… Asphyxia…I will die…
      Suddenly it is a voice, distant but clear, do not hurt a single wretch…
      ……
      I suddenly woke up, I can move as usual…It is a dream…However, just that sentence seems still in the ears…Do not hurt a single wretch…

      • You have a very distinctive style, Lion Voice!

        • lion voice says:

          Thank you for your comment. I still want to write some of the ideas sparked text. It seems to be the need to continue to practice. . .

    • Beth says:

      Police Inspectors Davis and Harrison entered the narrow room. Their gaze went to the lifeless bare-chested body of a young male laying face down in the centre of the carpeted floor. Beside his right arm, a beer bottle laid horizontal.
      Harrison broke the silence. “Looks like he fell down in a drunken stupor and had a heart attack,” the police inspector said, shifting his obese body onto his left foot.
      “Yeah, you could be right. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except that.” Davis’s grey moustache twitched as he pointed to the two dolls on the cabinet above the deceased’s head.
      “Voodoo dolls?”
      “No. They’re telling me this guy wasn’t alone.” His moustache twitched again. Trouble was brewing, his gut instinct told him. “This guy has a wife or kids or even a girlfriend. Wonder where they are in this picture?” Davis asked.
      “Don’t know but it’s a damn good question. And it leaves me wondering what was in that beer bottle?” Harrison stepped around the body and snapped the plastic gloves onto his hairy hands and wrists. He picked up the bottle by its neck and raised it to his nose. “I don’t smell anything, except beer.”
      Davis stepped forward. “Give it to me.” He held out a gloved hand at his partner. “I knew it!” he said in a triumphant tone. “Thee old nose don’t let me down at all.”
      Harrison laughed and grunted at the same time as he rose to his feet. “What’s in it?”
      “Arsenic! Now we have a murder,” Davis answered, bending down to replace the bottle.
      He turned to a detective lingering in the doorway. “Find his partner and we find his murderer. End of story!”

    • Jason returned home after a very busy day at the office.
      It was a hot summer evening and he thought he must reward himself for such an awful day.
      Het took a beer and sat on the armchair trying to calm down.
      Though he was at home he could still “hear” his boss’ voice asking him to do this or that.
      Jason hated him, really hated his boss.
      Jason thought several times to kill him, even dreamed about murdering his boss.
      He was obsessed. He could not stand him anymore.

      It was hot, very hot. The beer almost disappeared in his mouth, he didn’t taste it, just swallowed it.
      He stood up, fetched another one and headed to the armchair again.
      Jason detested his boss. How could it be possible to keep on thinking about that? He had not peace of mind! He was going to be sick, he was going crazy.
      Jason was busy thinking about this when suddenly something went wrong.

      The lucky trolls on the chest of drawers were looking at him!
      MY…! They moved their heads up to look at Jason! and…they talked to him!
      -“we can help you kill your boss,” told him in a creepy voice.

      Next day the police found Jason dead face down on the floor, half naked, a bottle of beer spilled on the floor.
      Nothing was stolen, broken or missing.
      The medical-forensic expert concluded that the death of Mr. Jason Glovhe occurred as a consequence of a heart attack.

    • Hannah says:

      The night chill did not bother Johnson but his friends kept complaining about it. He wanted to continue the party, they were certain he had finally lost it.

      Break-ups were never his strong point.

      If anything, Johnson took every breakup like some Shakespearean tragedy and almost always, wanted all those around him to feel his pain, misery and utter disappointment at the”lack of compassion girls of today have!”

      He waved them goodbye, who needed party poopers anyway!

      He found his own way to the next bar. Nothing and noone was going to stop him now. He would drink to his misery and drown his sorrows in lager, whiskey and whatever else poison he could get hold of.

      As long as his pocket could sustain him.

      He laughed at that joke that had crept into his head. Of course, his pocket could sustain him ’til kingdom come. It was two days after pay day and that cow he had called a girlfriend had left him.

      “This is for the last time,” she had said as she packed her bags. She was a selfish imp! He had loved her and she said she had loved him, even as she was leaving him. Who does that?

      “I love you but I cannot handle your oddities, Johnson,” she had said looking to her feet. A horrible lie, he knew. He stared at her as if his eyes would cause her to burst from her despicable lies. If she loved him, she would not care about his oddities! Love tolerated rubbish and focused on the good, just as he had done with her. He had accepted he weird bent left ear and her smaller right eye. Who didn’t have an oddity?

      Damn her.

      A special place in hell for women like her.

      Without realising it, Johnson found himself at his flat outside with a beer bottle. He searched for keys in his pocket and remembered he had left them before he had gone out. Something moved him to trying to open the door to which it did open. The empty kitchen coldly welcomed him. She had taken her kitchen table. Without much thought, he knelt and a delirious laughter came from the core of his spirit, she was really gone. Bridgette and her kitchen chairs had truly left her.

      Effortlessly, he fell forward tossing the bottle from his face and wept like a mad man. He would weep for the kitchen table and sleep where it once stood. He would weep for the food he had once enjoyed there with Bridgette. He wept and wept until finally, he slept.

    • Eric says:

      Corey was relieved that the semester was almost over. All he needed to do was blow off some steam with his friends and study for the finals. Corey was your average adult teen. Liked girls and having fun. Corey met his girlfriend Jenny at a party. After chugging a pitcher of beer with a Tequila chaser he was pretty lit washing away all the stress of school.

      Corey was handed a glass of Tequila and told by one of his friends that it was spiked and to give it to the girl. Corey sat down at a table and handed her the glass excusing him to hit the head telling her he would be right back. When he returned the girl had consumed most of it already. Sitting down Corey began drinking his but slowly. He was already feeling lit and didn’t want more of that.

      “Want to get out of here?” Corey asked
      “Yeah, sure.”

      Walking down the hallway dizzy and with blurred vision his arm around the girl and a sensation of falling down. He could see the girl looking at him but sensation of falling asleep was overtaking him.

      Shocked Jenny tugged on the body that lay still on the floor of the dorm room. No response. She checked for a pulse but still nothing. Worried she turned him over noticing the bottle of beer on the floor and that he didn’t have a shirt on. His skin was pale and cold to the touch.

      Raising her head in rapid motion, she gasped for air her eyes wide with fear overtaking her thoughts. She could hear his heart beating but there was no pulse.

      How could this be she thought. She sat up gaunt, nauseous, wide eyed, heart racing as if trapped in a nightmare paralyzed with fear. His eyes opened blood red with a slit like a lizard.

      “Hi Jenny, its Corey.” said Corey standing up holding a blood soaked knife

      Trying to open the door to get out, “Screaming…somebody help. Please!”

      Cut! Yelled the director

    • McBEE says:

      Damn!
      I can’t believe she ditched me for that stout. I guess i wasn’t strong enough. What was his name again…Dave, i think.
      Why did i even go there? When our relationship got so interesting, who would have thought this would be the end. Huh! I hate this life.
      But i don’t regret beating the crap out of those guys by the counter. i must have smash a couple of heads with bottles…Damn!
      i can’t even recall what i did. I don’t regret either.
      The fight outside!
      Of course!
      That, i do remember.
      i had the chance to escape but i let my ego get the best of me.
      i tried to fight for her…how could she do this to me? My wallet, my leather jacket, my shoes…they even took my watch. I must have reacted stupidly, trying to win her over.
      One of those guards pointed a gun at me. He told me to run. But i was drunk. I clung unto the spirit i had left to quench the bitter hollow inside me. I can’t even remember.
      I think i did something.
      O!
      Must be the damn guard.
      i must have stuck my middle finger at the guard. From there, i wallowed away.
      Damn, my feet feels cold…my body feels cold…i feel…cold.
      What did i do wrong?
      What is this place?
      O
      It’s my basement. My thinking room.
      How did i even get here?
      Damn!
      Survival…i can’t believe i survived such embarrassment.
      I hope it does not end up on YouTube…
      Speak of YouTube, my phone…where is my phone?
      Damn it!

      • I”m so excited about seeing so many different takes on this picture, like yours McBEE!

    • I told him and told him and told him.

      “Keep it in your mini-fridge. You know you need it, that your body has to have it to function. Please, Zach. You’re working enough to make sure you have plenty. Please take care of yourself! Keep. It. In. Your. Fridge.”

      I got the usual snarky reassurances only a 23-year-old seems able to articulate. Where is it written that youth must under no circumstances learn from the life experience of parents, grandparents or extended family? Whose house is this? Who’s paying the bills? And isn’t that one of my bedrooms he’s staying in?

      “Yeah, yeah, yeah–you’re like a warped CD, Pops. I’ve got plenty, okay? Lay off a little, will ya?” Back in went the ear thingies, his eyes clicked into Standby and he was off into that Somewhere Place in his head.

      I stood, vacuum cleaner handle loosely in my right hand, seeing the worn place in the tan carpet where Eileen’s feet had pushed while she rocked. . .

      I knew he’d retreat into the swirling warmish-green mental mist of the fantasy world that was his room. I knew I’d almost immediately hear a resuming of the bipping, chirping, warbling and deep gut-throbbing BOOMing of the games. I knew I had zero tolerance for being anywhere behind that door.

      I accepted he’d be a handful when I promised his dad I’d look after him during his physical therapy following The Incident. Nobody told me specifically what had happened, and I’ve been around long enough to know when to ask questions and when to wait for answers.

      This was clearly the latter. The two times I’d gingerly probed around the edges – once with his dad and once with Zach – I was not-so-kindly walked to the door of the discussion. One learns to put up with a lot not to be alone.

      So it was no shock to step into the converted garage and find him stretched where he’d fallen. Walking to the fridge, fearing but knowing what I’d find, I opened the door and looked.

      He’d finally run out of Snapple.

      • Chris P says:

        ” I was not-so-kindly walked to the door of the discussion.” – I love that line. It says everything in so few, but so well chosen, words.

      • Aaron R. says:

        I loved this!

    • LC Fierro says:

      Chad came home from the bar again and looked around the house. “Shes gone” he thought “I dont think shes ever coming back.” He threw his briefcase on the table and put on a pair of comfortable jeans. All the fights, all the money problems, all the infidelity had gotten to be too much for Linda. She finally packed her bags and left him. Chad grabbed a beer from the refrigerator as he went into the small room the kitchen. It was all they could afford after he hurt his back in the accident and had to change jobs. Linda wanted her old life back, the money, the status, everything that was “taken” from her. Beer after beer Chad tried to figure out a way to get her back. Already drunk from the after hours at the bar and the ones he lost count of at the house Chad was feeling angry. He was an angry drunk, mean, cruel and uncontrollable. “If I could take it all back I would” he thought. “Do you hear me Linda? I would take it all back!” He screamed. As Chad clenched his fists at the ceiling he felt that familiar pain in his back. Suddenly he was on the ground. The doctor told him not to drink while he was taking the pain pills but he didn’t listen he was too angry, too selfish and too absorbed in his own self-pity to listen to anything that anybody else had to say. The drinking and the pills took their nightly toll. Chad passed out like he always did.

    • Tommy Hero says:

      I can’t believe it; they did it to me again. Those damned trolls. “Have a drink,” they said. “You need to relax. Go on! What harm can one beer do?”

      I can hear them snickering. Look at them. Standing there on the cabinet, watching me, taunting me. They think they’re smarter than me. They genuinely believe that, and I can’t stand the thought of it. I know I’m smarter, and yet they always somehow get the better of me. I know I shouldn’t listen to them, but I can’t stop myself.

      I told my friends I couldn’t stay out late and get drunk with them. I told them. They raised hell. “Fine,” I capitulated. “One beer.”

      One beer. You know how it is. One leads to three, three leads to drunk, drunk leads to…

      My feet are frozen. I can’t even feel my toes. I couldn’t remember anything when I woke up. This made me anxious. The trolls were right; I needed something to settle my growing concerns. The bottle of beer conveniently planted next to my face would certainly take the edge off. But it did more than that. It made me remember.

      I remember now. I remember them piling into my car. I remember laughing like an idiot as I fumbled for my keys. I remember taking my shirt off for some reason. I remember the blinding white light. I remember… too much.

      Of all the things in the world I could do with right now, it’s another beer. One leads to three, three leads to drunk, drunk leads to me not remembering what I did. But the trolls outsmarted me. “Please,” I begged. “I need more.”

      They just stand there, plastic dolls with happy smiles and wild hair, saying more with silence than words ever could. One beer has laid me out cold, like a corpse in a morgue. I wish I could say I’ll know better next time, but next time doesn’t come to those who find out too late.

      What harm can one beer do? The answer will troll me forever.

    • Barbara Paterson says:

      This heat was really getting to him now. Sure – he was committed. He was going to win over his inner devil. But come on! Can a man really thrive on veggie juice alone? Surviving – perhaps. But thriving? The juice challenge: 3 days to your sexiest self ever! They probably worked for Monsanto. Someone had to make sure agricultural production kept pace with the beef industry – a hamburger would not go amiss now either. But no – stop it! It’s juices only for another week. Another WEEK. Seven more wretched days of rumination. Was he a sheep? Stop it. He had promised Katie and that was that. A man kept his promise. That’s what his father always said. He might not have much of his father in him but the old man had integrity. He wanted to be like that. Someone who was trusted. Someone people looked up to. Someone women liked. Your sexiest self. All you had to do was drink veggie juice. What was sexy about a juice drinking dude? Bits of carrot in his beard. Carrot juice on his shirt…. No -green saliva! Like the incredible hulk. He bet super heroes didn’t drink vegetable juice. No need. Girls loved super heroes. Sigh. He bet they didn’t sweat either. He wished he was a super hero – rescuig people from … heat stroke most likely. Man it was hot. And he was thirsty. He thought of that bottle of lager in his fridge. Ice cold beer. There it was. A shiny brown bottle of beer. Ag what the heck. A man gotta do what a man gotta do. He grabbed the bottle by the neck and twisted off the cap. He felt the beer run down his throat. So smooth so cool. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He burped. Katie would not like that. He had held out so long. 7 days of nothing but friggin vegetable juice. Shit. He should have hidden that beer. Now he was back to square one. Not 7 days of juicing but 14 again! That had been the deal. Two weeks in a row, if you fell off the wagon you had to start at the beginning again. He would never make it through another 2 weeks. He was weak. He dropped to his knees. Katie would leave him. She would go out with that dude from the veggie shop. “All things organic”. He fell forward, face onto the carpet, and he wept.

    • I wish I could be there! Back in my room, so that my mom will be busy again cooking what I like the most, and my dad will be busy reading the newspaper. But I was not in my room.

      The kitchen looked empty, the newspaper laid in front of the door as if the outside world has nothing to do with my house anymore. Rooms were silent. No more pleading from my mom for not eating my breakfast and no more scolding from my dad for reaching home late. Instead, they were sitting alone in that room, looking at my photo frame. The only thing that showed movement in that room was their tears.

      How could I let them like this, smiling at them in a photo while they were crying. I never thought this could happen to me. People started saying I was too young. And all of a sudden, I became a news. A news, something that engages everyone for a day and fades out over time. I became one such thing.

      The one who praised me at that party for going for that extra drink will be talking about me at another party that I was too mad to do it, and the one who scolds me every day for being too lazy and irresponsible will be crying for the rest of his life. It just shook up what I believed. While I was partying at one side, I never thought someone would stay nervous all night until they hear the sound of my bike. And I only got to know the other side of life when it all ended.

      Everything happened was too quick, the light, the loud horn sound, and there I was lying on the road with my last drink, surrounded by people, mumbling about me. I tried moving my arms, but I couldn’t. I had so much to do in life, but there is no time left. I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could be there! back in my room.

      The alarm beside by bed started ringing!

      • Chip Bristol says:

        The strife is o’er, the battle done

        The white flag, like an empty bottle, waves its final salute. The quest to fill the void within, the hole in his soul through which the wind has always blown, has come to an end. The gates of hell have many latches. No refrigerator contained enough food, no relationships enough love, no alcohol enough escape. His emptiness wins. His surrender complete.

        Alleluia!

        The weight of a father’s name and roman numerals caused him to fall on his knees, then his face, but down there he felt an unexpected comfort. Floors, it seems, have their own embrace. No longer did he need to hold himself up. No longer did he need to pretend. No longer did he need to hold his breath.

        Alleluia!

        With outstretched arms, he breathes as if for the first time. Slow and shallow, life returns like air, filling his soul one breath at a time. Opening his eyes, he looks up, which is the only direction one can look from the floor. Maybe that’s the first gift of reaching the bottom of his descent.

        Alleluia!

        • I love that!

        • PD Simeon says:

          There something really special about this micro story, Chip. I loved the way you use ‘descent’ as a key vision for this story.

          I especially liked: “Floors, it seems, have their own embrace.” And then how you tied it into the ending: “… he looks up, which is the only direction one can look from the floor. Maybe that’s the first gift of reaching the bottom of his descent.”

          Very nice 🙂

      • That was a very nifty ending, Sunil…!

    • Geff is an attention seeker. He always requires the attention of others and always wants to be the centre of stage. Yet, he is such a person of poor creativity, intuitiveness apart from being not so a friendly person Geff in reality is hardly the man who is being the core of a discussion or needy person for many. He virtually had never produced anything for the friends or for the society though his expectations were so high that he be given the attention by all others and no one else be treated important for others than him.
      Unfortunately for Geff, it is not happening. He needed attention of others which was never coming. improved with the time only was then nothing but the frustration and desperation for Geff. Let not at the mean time put Geff so low down. He is not the man who is the least productive in the history of the mankind. For his good fortune there is no such an guarantee in case of the future of the mankind at least. There may appear a man who is less creative and interesting than Geff, somewhere in the future of the mankind. Though remote, this is a possibility that one cannot deny.
      One day, all his lost initiative, or rather all his never available initiative ever, came into rise. Geff surprisingly started to think. He thought, “why should I be such a useless, why cannot I do something to bring the attention of others”. He thought and thought. Finally Geff created the situation which we see in the picture.
      One of Geff’s friend acceidently visited Geff that evening, not because he would get some help from Geff, not because he would have interesting time with Geff for the evening, not because of anything important, but merely accidentally Geff’s friend visited Geff in that evening. Sheer coincidence.
      Soon seen what we see in the picture, he informed the police and many of other friends of Geff in a hurry, without approaching the scene fearing crime.
      Not much of time set to left before police reached as well as some of Geff’s friends.
      To everybody’s anger and hidden eased feeling, there was Geff getting up sporting a proud smile, that he finally made people paying their attention on him.
      One thing was however obvious, that in addition to being a useless, now Geff is a stupid too. But he is not as stupid as many who do the stupid act truly.

    • Frank Hawthorne says:

      He died in his sister’s jeans and white, silk panties. No one knew that except for two homocide detectives who’d seen worse and weirder, and his mother, who’d seen it before.

      His name was Eric. He was 19. Unemployed. Unattached. Mostly unhinged.

      “Eric the Great,” his mother had once called him, and she believed he was — or could be, if he’d buckle down and get to it and try, for God’s sake, “to use all that talent the Good Lord just handed you on a plate.”

      He had jumped off his free ride to Stanford and moved into his mom’s garage. No bed. No computer. No TV. No stereo. He had all the noise he he could stand inside his head. The autopsy revealed a tumor the size of a walnut. As a favor to his family, the detectives didn’t mention the panties in their report. Again, they’d seen worse and weirder, but, as one of them later said, they’d never seen a more devastated mother.

      • I like it… you grab my attention from the beginning and it has a nice overall feel.

      • SCO says:

        Simple and to the point. I like it!

    • “If you were in this situation you’d be helpless, you would die.”
      At the time that I’d heard that sentence the man delivering it had been jury rigging an espresso machine to the engine of a stollen SUV.
      “Come back tomorrow for coffee,” he said. And we did. For a long time that was the only place in town where we could get coffee. Sarajevans took pride in the small things they could do to pull control of their lives back into their own hands. Once a friend had shown me a lamp he had made out of a jar of mayonnaise, a candle wick and a bullet. He’d worked on it for hours and he spent the whole day showing it to anyone he could.
      Eventually the war ended, all of the journalists had to go home.
      Years afterwards when the shells started to fall in my own city I remembered that sentence, “if you were in this situation you’d be helpless, you would die.” I didn’t doubt that it was true. Or at least that it would’ve been true if I hadn’t seen what I’d seen. I knew how things went.
      That first night while the rest of the world was still trying to figure out what this war would even mean, I was going through my home, deciding what I would keep and what I would become kindling.
      My husband had drunk until he’d passed out. That night, while outside I heard that familiar whistle of mortar shells passing overhead I considered him.
      I had always admired the people like those that I’d met in Sarajevo – the people who responded to an emergency by figuring out how they could bring coffee to the people of their neighborhood. I wasn’t one of them.
      I didn’t have the strength. For me to survive I would need to cut out every source of weakness from my life. In that moment, looking at the thing that for some reason I had decided to marry, I resolved to do it.

    • All he wanted was a good night’s sleep.
      The doctor suggested he take up yoga, or meditate to relive stress. Yeah. As if. There would be no “goodNytol’™ for him either: the remedy went down, stayed down and did…. Nothing.
      In the end, he went to the pub. Several pints later, he found himself chatting – slurring, actually – to a good-looking lass who appeared to be interested in his plight. With a snaggletooth smile, she suggested he try a couple of pills: she’d found them on the Internet (Where else?) and they’d turned the trick for her. What did he have to lose?
      He took the foil-wrapped pills and stumbled back to his gaff. He swallowed them both with a glass of water, and decided to listen to a little night music before retiring. A last beer would go well with that…….
      The next thing he knew, he was staring at the back of his own head. He was stretched out on the floor, arrested in the act of walking to his armchair.
      ‘Blimey!’ he thought. ‘Those pills really do work. I wonder if I can get any more?’ Then the curiousness of the situation exploded in his head. If he was dreaming, this was a very weird dream, and he wasn’t liking it very much. His busy head, which prevented him from turning off, tuning out and sleeping, was as busy as ever. His body – if it was his body and not a figment of his imagination – was at rest: he was not. The essential ‘HE’ was alert, awake and beginning to worry.
      What if he could not wake up? Who had that girl been, the one who’d given him the pills in the pub? What were they, those pills? Maybe he would have been better to take his doctor’s advice. But not yoga. Tai Chi, perhaps.
      The thoughts swirled, cycloning around in a mini-tornado of conjecture as the scene began to fade, darkening from the edges…..

      ‘So what do we have here then? Another suicide?’ A gruff voice filtered through the morning light. ‘That’s the second this week…’

    • I wish I could be there! Back in my room, so that my mom will be busy again cooking what I like the most, and my dad will be busy reading the newspaper. But I was not in my room.
      The kitchen looked empty, the newspaper laid in front of the door as if the outside world has nothing to do with my house anymore. Rooms were silent. No more pleading from my mom for not eating my breakfast and no more scolding from my dad for reaching home late. Instead, they were sitting alone in that room, looking at my photo frame. The only thing that showed movement in that room was their tears.
      How could I let them like this, smiling at them in a photo while they were crying. I never thought this could happen to me. People started saying I was too young. And all of a sudden, I became a news. A news, something that engages everyone for a day and fades out over time. I became one such thing.
      The one who praised me at that party for going for that extra drink will be talking about me at another party that I was too mad to do it, and the one who scolds me every day for being too lazy and irresponsible will be crying for the rest of his life. It just shook up what I believed. While I was partying at one side, I never thought someone would stay nervous all night until they hear the sound of my bike. And I only got to know the other side of life when it all ended.
      Everything happened was too quick, the light, the loud horn sound, and there I was lying on the road with my last drink, surrounded by people, mumbling about me. I tried moving my arms, but I couldn’t. I had so much to do in life, but there is no time left. I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could be there! back in my room.
      The alarm beside by bed started ringing!

    • Gaelle Dechelette says:

      – The wall is closer, I tell you!
      Marc was yelling on the phone, exceedingly worried. He couldn’t stop looking at the wall in front of him, afraid that if he stopped looking, it might move again.
      After a few seconds, the 911 operator finally said:
      – Mister, can you safely leave the room?
      Marc sighed:
      – I tried, but every time I stop looking the wall, it just moves closer to me…
      Silence on the phone.
      Are you still there? asked Marc, worryingly.
      – Yes, sir, but there is not much we can do, there is no threat to your life, so we cannot send the police. Maybe I can transfer you to a psychologist’s hotline?
      – I’M NOT CRAZY! yelled Marc, realizing that by doing so, he was giving the exact opposite impression.
      Sensing that he couldn’t get help from the women on the phone, Marc hang out. The room was now narrower than before, he just knew it. Just moments ago, the side of the room was much larger. What he didn’t know, is why the wall kept moving towards him. And how he could stop it. So he just kept looking at the wall, trying to find a solution.
      Suddenly, the phone rang. Distracted, Marc looked at the screen. His sister’s number was showing. At the same moment, he heard a noise, and when he left his head up, he could see, one tiny moment, the wall moving towards him, then stopped. With one finger, Marc pressed the ‘off’ button to shut down the phone.
      ‘How’s that possible?’ he thought, starting to breath heavily.
      – Is there anybody here? Said Marc in a loud voice. Are you watching me?
      Still looking at the wall, Marc was trying to find a spot or mark where a camera could be hidden, but nothing. The wall was immaculate.
      Then a voice, loud and clear:
      – I am your Lord and Savior.
      Marc was so shocked to hear his dead father’s voice that he fainted, falling on the hardwood floor.

      Gaelle Dechelette

      • PD Simeon says:

        I liked the idea of the wall moving closer…!

        • I love it. The walls closing in, then he hears his father’s voice who tells Him Jesus is the answer. Too bad we often only turn to Him as a LAST resort when He is the only one who can save us..

          Great job, Simeon.

      • donnae says:

        This made me smile and left me wanting more. I did find it a bit confusing when you flipped back and forth between dialogue techniques – – this and then ” ” but maybe that’s ok and I just don’t know about it.

      • SCO says:

        I loved the idea of the wall closing in…very intriguing….

    • PD Simeon says:

      As Kat opened the door, she let out a scream. Then she rushed over to see if the worst had happened. George looked dead.

      She knelt down to feel his pulse. But she couldn’t find it. Where did they say you should feel it? The first-aid instructor had told them to feel the pulse in somewhere below the ear. But press as she might, she just couldn’t feel his pulse.

      Should she call the police? Or keep on trying. Tears were running down Kat’s cheeks as she desperately tried to find his pulse. She dug deep into his neck below his cheekbone.

      “Oye!” Suddenly George sat up and held his neck.
      Kat fell over backward.

      “Can’t a man have a nap without being prodded in the ear?” he shouted, standing up.
      “I didn’t touch your ear!”
      “Well, it bloody hurts.”
      “I was trying to resuscitate you!”
      “You what?” George scowled.

      He dragged himself into the kitchen, opened the fridge and took out another beer.
      Kat went after him, dangling a shoe with a broken heel .
      “Darling,” she said, “I’m still shaking. I was so scared you were dead.”
      “Don’t darling me! This afternoon you told me you went to the movies with that creep, Jarvis.”
      “He’s not a creep!” Kat turned away from him and went to the window. “And in any case, nothing happened.”

      At that moment, the phone rang.
      “Oh, it’s you, Mum” George said, his voice starting to slur. “What? You got what? Just a moment, I’ll go into the bedroom.”
      “Kat doesn’t suspect a thing,” his mother said. “I told Jarvis to take her into town and try on some rings for fun.”
      “Rings for fun?’
      “Yes, you silly boy. He got Kat’s ring size so that you can get an engagement ring made.”
      “Engagement ring?”
      “Are you just going to parrot everything I say or are we going to have a conversation?”
      “I feel a headache coming on,” said George, got off the phone and rolled over onto the bed.
      “Women are just too, too difficult,” he mumbled and closed his eyes.

      • Beth says:

        Well done PD. Terrific story. It definitely has depth. I could see your character totally out of her element. Petrified yet nervous. This is a good start to your new year as a fiction writer. Well done again.

        • PD Simeon says:

          Hey thanks for your kind words, Beth! I must admit, I was a bit nervous writing this micro story…

          And bringing the story to an end … that’s really tricky!

    • How to resuscitate the tiny house in you?

      So the day comes when you examine your life, your assets and capabilities and realize that you’re not working with as much credentials, substantial Net Worth or experience to pull off the vision that has sparked a fire of passion inside you.

      You rehearsed over and over in your mind various strategies, positioning and blueprints of how you can pull of such a magnificent venture.

      Finally, you get up the nerve to share your plans with your most trusted confidants, believing that they will give you the constructive and supported feedback that your hoping will co-sign your agenda. Thus, giving you the encouragement and perhaps even the financial support needed to jump-start the process.

      Some are enthused for you but most brush you off with the infamous word ‘Interesting’! Nevertheless, you continue to hold on to your dreams and your determined to beat the odds regardless of the neglected support that you originally hoped to receive.

      After countless hours of research, free tutorials, podcasts and motivational videos, you finally get a breakthrough. The phone rings and it’s a prospect that you had long since given up on due to their previous attitude of indifference, but now they announce to you their need for your services.

      Ecstatic about your exciting news, you hang up the phone, finish up the wound down beverage of your choice, dance around your tiny house and drop to the floor from overwhelmed exhaustion.

      With a silent cry of Joy, a sense of accomplishment, you embrace the very floor you walk miles of worry and frustration. You have finished your foundational course. The Basics have actually turned out for the best. Confirmation of doing what you can with what you have has proven its case.

      Could this story resemble some of your very own experiences? Have you also made the choice to follow your vision at all cost? Have the entities of Modern Technology help to get you one step closer to your hopes and dreams.

      It has mine!


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