It Will Hurt Less Than Falling

“Come down,” she urged the child. “It is not safe up so high in the tree.” She reached out her arms. They were very  long. They would catch the child.

“No,” said the child.

“You will fall and hurt yourself,” she smiled kindly with all of her teeth.

“You will hurt me more.”

“There is no pain in my embrace,” she reassured, her eyes pleading like hungry black holes.

“You will eat me.”

“It will hurt less than falling,” she promised, her tongue forked like a snake’s.

—-

Something a little spooky for October.

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Devour

“Whatever it takes,” he nodded to himself. “Can’t be weighed down with concerns about others. Won’t get anywhere like that.” His eyes strayed to the golden shimmer that was splayed next to the red counter. It was a number larger than anyone had ever had. But not enough. It was never enough. He always needed more. Because stopping meant losing. Stopping meant someone would catch up.

   There was a chime. The number flickered. Six billion nine hundred million ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine. His smile widened. The golden number ticked upwards. He glanced back at the red numbers. He had done it. No one would ever be as rich as he was. He was the ultimate. He had everything. The freedom to do whatever he wanted, the power to control the world.

   Almost. The numbers leered. There was more. There was still more he could do. His movements stilled. He stared at the golden numbers that beamed his pride and obsession. Almost.

—-

A small excerpt of a flash fiction I am working on. Exploring the depths of greed.

Study

Everyone told him that studying would make him smarter. They said that it would help him understand concepts he could not yet grasp.

So he studied. He studied very hard.

He studied the twitching limbs and curling fingers. He studied the way the bodies curled inwards, away from the gleaming metal. He studied the way blood ran so similar to their tears.

He observed like in science class. He repeated his experiments, over and over. And when he still could not understand, he began to broaden his observations.

He started listening. To the screaming and the begging, the crying and the desperate pleas. But nothing, not a stir.

He watched as they slowly awoke, their looks running from confusion to horror at the sight of blood and rotting corpses – the failed experiments – that littered the room. Faces were, he realized, very strong indicators of emotions. They twisted and contorted in an acrobat of expression. But stronger still, he found, were the eyes. They showed their fear, their pain, and for some, in the end, their resignation. He kept those ones in a jar, but they had lost their emotions once he had removed them from the body. He could not understand why.

He also touched. Touched their shivering limbs, their quaking bodies, their warm blood, their cold corpses.  But it gave him none of the answers he sought. He learned only that they became quick to shy away from him when he approached, wriggling like bugs trapped in a spider’s web. Their chains would shake, clinking, but they were unable to flee as his hands drained them of their lives.

Finally he tasted. First their blood, for it was the same colour as his own, and he knew that all humans were made of the same materials. But it was metallic and nothing more. Then he tasted their tears, for they always cried when they felt strong emotions. They were salty, and it reminded him of the ocean’s devastation. But these people were small and weak and very soon they stopped crying and stopped moving at all.

A monster, they called him, but he could not understand. For he and they were all the same. Blood and limbs and beating hearts. So why did they spend their lives smiling and crying, while he wandered the days never needing to shift his expression and never able to create tears? It was something that puzzled him greatly.

He still, he figured, had much to learn. And studying, he hoped, would provide him with the answer.

—-

Happy Halloween!

Lone

She saw it in her dreams. Only the stars provided life to the shadows that clung to its form. It was staring out over the lands like a king. But no howl would it answer. Instead it lowered its ears and slinked away as if chastised.

How she wished it would revert, back to its proud stance, beautiful even in its solitude. But it withdrew in exile, never to join in the calls of the others.

She longed to feel its fur bristle beneath her fingers. See its eyes sharpen upon her, perhaps seeing her as prey, or perhaps, though she knew it to be impossible, seeing her as a familiar presence.

Over forests she reached, but it remained just beyond her fingertips, no matter how hard she strained.

And she would wake, tears in her eyes, as it turned from her and faded away. Just a dream, tangible only in her heart.

—-

Very loosely based on a dream I had.

The Translator

   “Ah, Sir, I’m afraid-” he paused and frowned as he glanced beside him. “What? No, I can’t say that, it’s rude!” He crossed his arms as the hooded man next to him spoke harshly. “I know you’re paying me to get the job done. I will, if you let me do it. And that threat stopped working ages ago.”

   He shook his head and glanced ahead of him. “I’m sorry about that,” he rubbed the back of his head. “My boss is having a rough day. Oh, yes, I’m sure you are, too!” He raised his hand as angry gestures were thrown his way. “In fact, that’s why we’re here. Ah, you see, the reason you’re so unhappy is because you’re not where you know you ought to be. 

   “Oh, no, no, it’s not your fault. You haven’t done anything wrong, don’t worry!” He smiled. “It’s our job – “ he winced at the jab to his side. “It’s his job to find those like you who have lost their way. I’m just here to translate!” He frowned and leaned forward. “Pardon me?”

   There was a grumbling breeze. 

   “Oh, I’m afraid they’re long gone, now. Nothing left here, as you can see,” he swept his arms around at the ruins around them. “In fact, you’ll have a much higher chance of finding them if you come with us.” He winced again. “If you go with him.”

   The figure beside him offered his hand.

   There was a pause. Then slowly a silver hand, translucent, placed itself into the bony grasp. It was caught and pulled, and they faded from view.

   He sighed, rolling his eyes. “Send me my usual.” He called out. “Honestly,” he muttered,  “sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it.” He shoved his hands into his pockets and made his way from the ruins. The rumours would slowly fade, and soon this house would be no more than a distant memory, eventually consumed by the forest. 

   He stopped and frowned. “Already?” He grumbled. His eyes glinted silver in the starlight, and he disappeared into the woods. “And here I thought I’d get a night off.” His words chased his image into the darkness.

—-

I thought my summer schedule would be lighter, but it turns out I’m working even more. Which is a good thing! But I’ve been neglecting my blog. Apologies!

Seeing

“Oh, I’m sorry, sir!” She bent down and retrieved his glasses. She inspected them as she stood up, her breath misting gently across the clear surface. She immediately felt tired. “They’re not broken or scratched,” she constructed a relieved smile.

He barely glanced at her as he took them back, but she was not surprised. She knew that dismissive look. She had seen it plenty of times before. Because her face was too gaunt to be considered pretty. Her hair was thin and greying despite her age. Her eyes no longer held the life she had once felt so strongly.

She watched as he walked away, still talking on his phone, his white shirt crisp and bright, his leather shoes clicking importantly with every step.

“Did you do it?”

“I always do,” she replied without turning to look at the man who appeared at her side. She stumbled slightly as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her to his side.

“Good girl,” he kissed the top of her head. His lips were cold.

She remained still, used to his treatment.

“Let’s go,” he pulled her to his car.

She opened the door and sat down, immediately rolling the window down as she stared outside. She ignored his irritated glance.

The apartment building that they approached loomed with leering glass panels. She shivered despite the summer heat.

She did not bother rolling up the window as she exited the car. Her arms remained folded as they rode the elevator to the top floor.

The door recognized his fingerprint and allowed them into his apartment. And it was his apartment, not theirs. For he owned everything that she had.

Sharp edges and walls of glass glared as they entered. He pushed her towards the office, and she sat facing his desk. She picked up the notepad and pen. He sat in his chair and watched her, his eyes greedy.

Knowing better than to delay, she closed her eyes, and began to see. A screen flashed, a name, numbers. Her hand moved, a steady stream of red across the page.

She opened her eyes with a shudder as her hand trailed from the page. The pen dropped to the table and her hand fell to her lap. The world spun and she felt exhaustion creep in sluggish waves.

Her eyes drooped. She saw him take the pad, his smile cold, his mind already calculating. Soon, she knew, he would be millions richer, and a man would wake to find his accounts empty.

“Good work,” he praised.

She felt nauseated as she stared at his handsome face. At the lies behind his smile, behind his every word. The lies she had so foolishly trusted. The smile that had drunk in her deepest secret, one she had been so glad to finally share. The face that had been honest until it warped and its cruelty was revealed.

By then it was too late, the bars had fallen, and she knew that she would regret it for as long as she lived. Her only relief, she sighed as sleep lowered her eyes, was that it would not be too much longer. Her life drained as his greed grew and one day soon, she knew, she would be free.

Another in my series of Breath themed stories.

In no order:

Steam

Lunacy

Potential

We met twice in that moment.

Once as our eyes registered. Twice as our souls resonated in waves that we could not, at the time, comprehend.

It was only as we walked away, lonely souls forever lost in the crowds, that we realized what we had missed.

Do you sometimes wonder what would have happened if you had stopped to say hi?

Lunacy

“The moon that interesting?”

“It’s full tonight. Must be some werewolves out there.”

“Very funny.”

“What, Josh, you’re not scared of them, are you?” She finally turned to glance at him.

“They’re not even real.”

“Says you,” she sniffed.

He sat beside her and craned his neck. “It’s nice… But you look lovesick, the way you’re staring. Should I be jealous?”

“Maybe,” she grinned, her eyes flicking in his direction. The moonlight made his skin glow. “I mean, it’s gorgeous, it’s so bright, and – well, tonight, it’s pretty damn big.”

“It’s only bright because of the sun. And it’s not big every night.”

She shrugged, scowling as thin clouds momentarily obscured her view. “It’s just hidden most of the time. Doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

“You’ve been staring at it for hours now. Want to go grab food? I’m starved.” He put his arm around her, but she didn’t lean in to him as she normally did. “Melanie?”

Her head jerked and she turned to him, blinking. “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Never mind. I’m gonna defrost a pizza.”

Melanie opened the window and inhaled the moon’s white breath.

She settled on the couch, her head nestled against a small mound of pillows. The moon was her blanket as she curled her legs up to her chest. It brushed its lullaby through her hair.

She felt her muscles relax, one by one, and a small smile curved her lips. Her breath misted, silver, in front of her.

“Want a slice?” Josh poked his head into the room as he read the directions on the back of the box. “Melanie?” He looked up when there was no response. She was still staring outside. He sighed. “Mel,” he walked up and shook her. She was warm, her pulse soothing, and her eyes vacant as the moon.

—-

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of breath. First with Steam, and now with this one. And I have more lined up. They are not connected, but rather variants on a theme. I hope you enjoyed it!

Choice

The words freeze throat as you speak. Tears gather at the pain. But you force them out and hope they will take with them the torment you feel.

Words gather, and your stomach clenches around them. Tries. It tries to contain them. To keep the darkness from being released. From corrupting the life it touches once released into the air.

But neither do you want them inside you, festering, rotting you from within.

You scream, torn, agonized, the decision waiting with a smile as cruel as the words you have formed.

—-

Being sick has completely thrown me off course. I missed my usual Wednesday post, and I’ve barely been active the past few days. I apologize if I was late in replying to your messages. And if I missed it completely, I’m deeply sorry! I do my best to reply to each and every one of your comments! I appreciate the time you took to share your words!

Something Blue

Death, blue, hid beneath her smile. She felt vaguely sympathetic at the sight of his eager face.

But as she stared into his eyes, she saw her children’s fearful gazes, their wrists and ankles tied. And as he spoke his vows, she heard the voice of the shadowed figure, his orders clear, his gun unwavering. Her blue hair clip was as cold as the barrel she had felt pressed against her head.

Matters of the heart were simple enough when her family was on the line.

So she let him slip the ring upon her finger.

“I do.”

Her vows were spoken, staring into his eyes. She let his lips fall upon hers. Closing her eyes, she imagined someone else’s. Rougher lips, always surrounded by a hint of a beard.

She opened her eyes and caressed his shaved cheek. It was warm beneath her chilled fingers. He clasped her hands in an attempt to warm them.

She wore her smile the way she did her dress. It fit, tailored perfectly to her heart. He had already turned and was slapping his best man on the back.

She held on to her mask even as the bedroom door closed and her heart began to pound. He stepped closer and she allowed him to begin removing her dress.

His hand paused on her ring and he smiled at her. She let her eyes flutter downwards, as if shy. He chuckled and kissed her.

She stopped his hand as he moved to undo her hair. “It’s the clip you gave to me. I want to leave it in.”

“Is it?” He was already distracted by her brassiere.

“It’s my Something Blue.”

He hummed as he pushed her onto the pillows.

“I wore it for you.”

“I’d prefer you wearing nothing at all right now.”

“As you wish.” She removed the clip. It had a slightly greenish tinge.

He was kissing her neck. She was dragging her nails down his back, the clip firmly in her grasp, a cold kiss against his heated skin. He barely noticed.

Once he was asleep, she stood up and eased the door open. She handed over the bloody clip and accepted a clean one. She slipped back into bed.

When the sun peered into the room, she opened her eyes and turned to see his still form. For a moment her fingers lingered over his lips. She sighed. Then she opened her mouth and screamed.

I Bought Love

I bought love. It was old and used. Haggard after passing through careless hands.

It cost me 4.99 and there was no guarantee it would last. Perhaps it would simply be a fling. Or a one night stand. One time enough.

As I flipped the cover, I relaxed into my seat. I let my heart read through my eyes. And deeper and deeper I fell in love with what I could see on every page.

I bought love. And the love was strong. To this day it remains close, patiently waiting for my attention as it sits on my shelf. And every once in a while I pick it up with a smile. Smooth it with my hands. And open my heart.

Thief

 

There’s a darkness in this room now. The taint spreads from the corner. The window through which you violated my sanctuary. You oozed your way in, desperate, thieving.

You snatched memories from my shelves, cruel in your careless swipes and disregard. Your selfish desire.

You linger even after you sprint away from the crime. Your greedy hands pilfer the happiness from my mind. I can feel you staring, a faceless shadow.

—-

You don’t realize how much of a violation it is until it’s your home that’s broken into. It was only amazing support from family and friends that got me out of the strange funk I was in after it happened. 

But if he was so desperate to break into a house and steal, then he must be at a low point in his life. 

The sentimental value was the hardest blow. Items I can always replace. 

But his actions will follow him for the rest of his life. And with these thoughts, the anger drains. And all I can do now is hope that he finds a better path.

The Scent of Books

A black vanilla ink upon musky pages. Suitable for all. A perfume to stimulate the heart and mind.

The initial scent of salty tears fades gracefully into whispers of a freshly healed heart. The dark odour of pain and sorrow is harmonized by the spice of anger that bursts from gleaming swords.

To soften it, wafts of sweet smiles and honeyed laughs.

And finally a top note of hope that soars with each page turn, released with a crinkling sigh.

Self-Loathing

Self-loathing secrets, fighting so hard against their name.

Locked away, they yearn to be released. They wail against the walls, louder and louder until they are heard.

Rarely are they content to sit, quiet, reserved. To linger in the recesses like  meandering ghosts, unseen, unheard, unknown but for the occasional shiver of unease.

Secrets hate their very nature. They rebel against it. Imprisoned, they’ll scream through the bars until their voices join yours and they leap to freedom.

More Secrets

“Damnit, boss, you said it was a gremlin!”

“Did I? Strange, I don’t recall.”

He glanced up to see his boss squatting on the roof above them. Forty stories up. He muttered something unfavourable as the figure waved.

“What was that?”

“Nothing,” he said, his hand clenching around his phone.

“Indeed. Well, seems like Jake’s running late. You’ll have to do this one alone. Can’t fall behind schedule, after all.”

“By myself? Boss, I’m flattered at your faith in my abilities, but-“

“Chop chop!”

He cursed as he disconnected the call, shoving the phone into his pocket, and opening his bag. He unzipped the extra compartment and pulled out the red coiled rope. It was slightly faded in colour, some parts blackened and frayed, but he was unconcerned at its whining.

“Job to do,” he shrugged as he shifted the bag more comfortably on his shoulder. The rope began to glow. The light sputtered slightly. “Yeah, yeah. Complain, complain. What about me, huh? Think I want to take on this chimera by myself anymore than you do?” The glow increased until the rope began to hum in vibration. “That’s better.”

He glanced around the corner, only to jerk back quickly as a garbage can flew past his head. A furious roar followed.

“Off to a great start already.” He looped the rope and slung part of it over his shoulder. “Right, probably a good idea to move.” He ducked as giant claws dug into the building next to him. Debris clattered behind him and a long, thin neck chased him into the next alley. There was a hissing noise and he could not help groaning. “I hate snakes.”

There was a spitting noise and the ground behind him sizzled as acid ate its way through the concrete. He ducked behind a car, cringing as it, too, was sprayed, and began to melt. “I take it back,” he called out. “Snakes are great.”

The sound of a building crumbling answered.

Peering through the window, he saw the creature rear back. He swallowed. The rope in his hands was hot as energy coursed through it. His muscles tensed, and then he was moving, leaping over the car that was mostly gone.

The chimera struck. He threw the rope forward and the loop widened, hovering for a moment, before snapping forward, around the head. The rest flew from his hands and twined around the body, constricting.

There was a furious screech, and for a moment the creature writhed, and he feared that it had failed, for it was looking at him, its mouth open, and he could see the acid dripping from its mouth.

He saw the muscles move. Saw it aim. Then the rope began to glow, and he knew that the spell had activated. For a moment it was so bright that he could not see. He threw a hand over his eyes in surprise. It had never flared this brightly before.

When he lowered it, the chimera was on its side, eyes glaring, as it lay, unable to move. In front of him he could see a few drops of acid hissing on the ground, but he was unharmed. He let out a breath, shivering slightly at the close call. The creature must have been immobilized before it could complete its action.

He turned at the sound of footsteps.

“Happy now?” He grouched.

“I knew you wouldn’t die.”

“Yeah?” He snorted. “How did you figure that?”

Her eyes flicked down to his bag. “It’s ruined.”

He scowled at her evasion and glanced down, only to shout in dismay. “She’s going to kill me,” he stared at the remains of the doll his wife had made. Acid had eaten away all but part of the head and one of the arms.

His boss’ lips curled upwards. “I’m sure she’d be happy to make you another one.”

—-

Part II of Secrets. Can be read as a stand alone or a sequel. I hope it satisfies some of your curiosity!