Mr. Midas slowly walked through his magnificent halls. The click of his heel clearly heard as an echo sounded against the high cave like ceilings. The hallway expanded with marble flooring and golden accents. Each window framed with rich wooden carvings leafed with gold. This was Midas’s palace. His treasure. At the end of the ornate hallway, Midas entered a small room. It was dark with velvet curtains covering each window pane. In the center of the room stood a statue, a figure frozen in time arms outstretched. Midas faced the figure directly. He looked into his daughter’s eyes fixed in a bright half smile. She was only nine years old and never had a chance. He recalled the fateful day when his blessing became his curse. He had reached for his daughter and turned her to solid gold. She had just learned how to say “Hello” in five different languages. Suddenly cemented in time, as a relic to her father’s greed. Midas reached out his hand to the statue. He caressed her cheek. If only he could turn back time, reconsider everything he cherished in his life. His daughter’s expression remained unchanged. He sighed. Midas turned away and walked out of the room slowly plodding down the hallway. The clicking of his heel echoed through the cavernous hall.
The two words I didn’t want to hear. My breath jagged and I wondered how long I had stood with my hands raised above my head. I glanced down at his shoes. People always showed their personality in their shoes. Dark, black Doc. Martens. A posh type, I concluded.
“Hey” the intruder said, leaning closer to me. Shifting his weight in those Doc. Martens. “I said time’s up”
The “p” sound fell from his lips with an extra gravitas. My hands still raised. My eyes were still staring at those ugly boots. (I had decided that those boots were quite ugly. I mean, who would wear such a boring shoe to a jewelry store robbery? Shouldn’t there be pizazz, flash and glamour?) I had heard the clicking of the pistol. My heart quickened. Time was up, what more could I do?
The intruder shifted his weight again. This time closer to me. I looked up and suddenly asked. “What’s with those shoes, anyways?” The question blurted from my mouth more out of shock and desperation than anything intentional or planned.
“Hunh?” The intruder looked down, dropping his arms slightly.
I swung my hands down, hard. They connected with the gripped pistol. As my flesh contacted bones, I felt a sharp pain running up my forearms. I heard the loudest crack sound that I had ever heard. It was like the breaking of a walnut shell, but 10 times louder. The intruder screamed and stumbled back. I looked down to see my hands covered in blood. My blood. It started to hurt now. I was on my knees. I gasped for breath. It felt as though I was underwater. Then, I was laying on my belly with my head against the floor. Now, I had sunk. All I could see were those damn ugly boots. I tried to breathe. Water filled my lungs. Then I heard the faint sounds of sirens. The boots turned and started to run. The sirens seemed to fade as I closed my eyes and thought “I’ll never wear Doc. Martens ever again.”
“Tom, do you think that if the fish all die that the dolphins will stop flying?”
Tom looked in the rear-view mirror of his sudan. Lanny looked expectantly at him. He had to muster some sort of answer.
“Ummm,” Tom started cautiously. “Lanny, first things first. The only reason fish will die is because the oceans turn sour and by the time that happens, I am sure the dolphins will have evolved from swimming to flying. So no worries there.”
Lanny looked relieved. She smiled through the mirror back at Tom and turned to gaze out the car window. Tom breathed out a sigh. His younger sister, Lanny, always did have the weirdest questions. Then again, Lanny grew up with his lunatic aunt for the first 10 years of her life. There was a lot of work to undo. Tom wished he had known how bad it had been for Lanny sooner. It hurt to know that Lanny had been confined to his aunt’s ways for so long. Although his little sister knew no different than the life she lived, it still wasn’t right what had happened. Tom held that regret in his chest like an iron weight. Some days it weighed him down to the point of immobility. But Tom would always remember Lanny and push forward. It was hard when Lanny had her hysteric episodes. The screaming and punching. She was so strong. And that strength would help her heal and grow. This was the work that needed to be done to help Lanny adjust to her new life. She had such a resilient spirit. Tom knew that she would do so well.
He knew she would adore school. The rhythm of class and making new friends. Lanny hadn’t stopped asking about when she could go to school. It was August 3rd and the little girl was already planning her lunches. She was ecstatic to find out where her locker would be in the hallway.
“Tom!” Lanny would say “ Tom! Do you know I am going to just love my teacher?”
Tom smiled as he recalled the memory. Glancing to the back seat, Lanny met his eyes and smiled her toothy grin. He couldn’t wait for Lanny to learn to love her new home.
“Clarence, I am thinking of a word that rhymes with memory…”
Sharon leaned closer to the table. Clarence thoughtfully pondered the clue. “Darling, could you give me a bit more? How is it used in a sentence?”
Sharon tilted her head to the side. She was thinking.
“Sharon?” Clarence nudged again. He noticed how Sharon had drifted into herself. A land lost to time, filled with thoughts and daydreams. It was in these moments that Clarence could get a full look at his wife’s face. She was always so busy, moving from one thing to the next. It was easy to miss her features and details. Sharon held her head in a regal manner you knew she had to be royalty. Her posture rarely stooped. Her deep black skin shone in the afternoon light and gleamed a lovely warm hue. Her nose rounded above her lips in such a way that it made Sharon look as if she was always up to something mischievous. Clarence thought about that smile that Sharon held when they first met. It was how all her features fit so well on her face that made him so intrigued. How could a woman look so fierce, jovial and friendly all at once? Clarence fell head over heels, trying desperately to live up to Sharon’s expectations. She had been so kind hearted and surprised as Clarence spent more time around her. He glanced at her face again. The rounded soft edges of her jaw that made way to her neck. Clarence thought about memory. The word memory and how it did nothing to evoke the power of actual memories held.
“Darling, are you thinking of the word ‘revelry’ as in to revel in something?”
“Yes!” Sharon shot up. “Revelry! Thanks darling.” Sharon turned from the table and walked back to her office. She hummed a tune that Clarence didn’t recognize.
A pitter-patter of feet. I heard the door slowly swing.
“Hello?” Abby said.
I turned to see my daughter opening the door to my room. My husband must have grabbed her from the crib and let her in the room.
“Hi, honey.” I murmured. “Did you want to say good morning?”
I noticed Abby still was waiting in the doorway. Her curly black hair frizzed in such cute ways. She loved rising early and snuggling with mommy. Especially after daddy left for his morning run.
“Yes. I wanna be’n bed wif you mamma.” Abby whispered.
She closed the door and waddled over to the edge of my bed, arms outstretched. I shifted so that I could pick her up.
“Abby sweetie, do you know who loves you?” I asked as I placed her next to me. Abby looked at me with bright brown eyes. She blinked.
“Mamma loves me.”
“Yes! I love you so so much!” I giggled and squeezed Abby’s little feet. “And Daddy loves you!” I kissed her toes. “And you know what? Jesus loves you the most!”
Abby laughed. “Dada and Jesus!” she squealed. Her hands waving in the air and then landing on my stomach. She excitedly patted my middle and my arms. I started to hum a made up tune as Abby continued to drum against my body.
“Mommy, sing with me!!” Abby crawled closer to my face. Her nose touching my chin.
“What if we sing a song about the fairies?” I said, moving my daughter to my side. I took a deep breath and started to hum. Softly I sang as Abby put her head on my shoulder. We looked into eachothers eyes. It felt surreal and I started to disassociate from the moment. Then Abby touched my cheek. I blinked and was brought back into my body. “Yes, honey?”
“Mamma, I love you.”
**** Author’s note: This is another story collaboration post! I am excited to sowcase Chapter 2 for a Story Collaboration project hosted by Lucy’s Works. Please check out Chapter 1 here: https://lucysworkscom.home.blog/2020/05/05/story-collaboration/ So that you have and idea of what is going on in the story! Also I encourage you to test your own writing abilities and join in this collaboration!****
I blink twice and close out the article. Something wasn’t right. This wasn’t protocol. My supervisor had been clear about one thing. “No deathz, pleaze” The ‘s’ of every word making a zed sound. His accent really could only be heard in the ‘s’.
I wiped my face. “Damn it”. I knew what untimely deaths meant. Paperwork. And a lot of talking. No one at the head office wanted to hear about your sad sloppy story of an excuse. They wanted facts. Cold hard facts. Normally, this wasn’t a problem. I worked entirely in numbers. Every day my life was filled with facts. Numbers, data, places, times, people. All shifted into little one’s and zero’s so the world could be a better place. But this morning Stephen “friggen” Richards was found dead and that was something that would have to be addressed.
I stood up and got ready for the morning. Today at the office, it would be hell. But no mind, I figured I would proceed as usual. After dressing myself for the day, I glanced at my reflection. My smooth skin and sharp features looked hollow in the dim bathroom light. “Not as hollow as Richards” I said sardonically.
Then I took my commute to the office. You would think that since I work in data incrimination that I would have a fancy home set up. Or maybe you could imagine that my office was a secret lair where masterminds gathered with expensive gear and passwords to enter. Instead, I pulled into a nondescript parking garage next to a nondescript office building. Beige bricks lining the walls. As I pulled in, the security guard scanned my ID and let me in. No bells and whistles, nothing fancy. That’s the thing when engineers and data hackers are at the heart of the operation. They see no need for theatrics. And you know what, fine by me.
As I got out of my car and closed the door, I heard a soft “Hello?” from behind. I turned to see a face and wagging arms four cars down, glasses glinting.
“I thought that was you,” Cracker said, walking toward me. This was my college “Cracker”. I didn’t know their real name because that’s how things worked at the office. Cracker was short, small like a mouse with mousy hair, bland clothes and bland taste in music. They liked ska.
“Good morning,” I said turning toward the elevator. “Wait up! Charlie Chocolate!” Craker squeaked, running swiftly behind me trying to catch up. I cringed at hearing Cracker’s nickname for me. Why the Chocolate? Why not just Charlie, which is what everyone else in the office called me. Unfortunately for me, Cracker was one of those people who loved embarrassing moments and insisted on remembering them. There was a work incident where I ate moldy chocolate which made its rounds in the gossip mill and Cracker was never going to let me live that stupidity down.
“Chocolate, did ya hear about the Richard’s case? Blew up the Times this morning. What a load of bull shit. Wouldn’t have wanted that to be my case.” Cracker weezed as they waited for the elevator. Their body frame was not fit for cross country sports.
“Yeah” I mumbled “sucks to high heaven for that bloke.” We weren’t legally allowed to divulge our work cases for obvious reasons even among co-workers. Data leaks were too easy on collaborative projects. It is ironic that there were things that I was legally bound to uphold in this company when the entire operation didn’t operate within any lawful bounds.
“I think Kevin’s the one on this case” Cracker said as we entered the elevator. I slid my ID into a card slot and pressed “6” on the button panel. Down we went.
“You know,” I said after a pause. “I think it’s really not good to speculate cases and things. In my experience, that’s what gets you into trouble.” Cracker had been at the organization half the amount of time I had been there. I thought it a benevolent deed to give them a few pointers.
“Whatever mate,” Cracker leaned against the elevator wall. “All I’m sayin’ is that’s a whole lot of stinking garbage for someone to clean up and I’m just glad it’s not me.” They pushed their large glasses further up their nose.
I said nothing. We exited the elevator onto the sixth floor underneath the parking garage. The hum and buzz of the computers filled our ears and the smell of old sneakers and dust hit our noses. Cracker and I walked together to our desks. I was the lucky chap who sat next to Cracker at the end of the cubicle aisle.
“Well good day to ya, then” Cracker smiled and waved. “See ya at lunch”. They sat at their desk logging into the databases. I followed suit and logged on. The first few windows on my screen were the case files for the Richards agenda. I left these open so I could easily fill them out after everything had been squared away. But now with Richard’s dead in a warehouse, I couldn’t close out the paperwork. After securing a remote computer with a unique VPN, I started to conduct my own investigation into Richard’s untimely death. It seemed that all the police would say was that the death was suspicious and they suspected foul play. After accessing the internal police records, I found that a police officer had questioned the pub owner. He had stated “Richards had left to use the bathroom and a friend followed.Couldn’t say anything about how the guy looked. Just a bloke with a coat.” Nothing too incriminating. Annoyingly, the pub owner remembered me though. I scanned through the forensic photos to see if the body would give any indication to who the killer was. Forensics had seemed to do a rush job because no matter how hard I searched, there really was nothing to gain from the photos.
I heard a click as my desk phone speaker started to buzz. “Hello?” I asked.
“Charlie.Itz me. Pleaze, come to my office. I need to discuss zomething with you.”
“Okay boss. Be right there” I looked up to see Cracker raise their eyebrows at me. I shrugged. There wasn’t anything unusual in me going to the boss’s office. I consistently worked on high profile cases that required delicacy and consistent meetings. I got up to walk down to the office. As I lifted myself from my chair, I heard a high pitched whining sound in my left ear. Rubbing my ear slightly, I realized the sound wasn’t going away. Inst ead the sound got louder. Painful even. I started to turn and realised that I felt paralized to where I stood. My arms could still move though and I pulled them down from my ears to see red on my palms. Blood. The piercing ring still cut through my ears. I looked over at Cracker. They were staring at their computer. Headphones in, oblivious to the scene in front of them. My heart raced. What was happening? In what seemed like slow motion, Cracker turned their head toward me.
“Chocolate?” They asked.
I blinked. Suddenly, the sound vanished and the pain dissipated. “Fuck” I swore bending over drooping my head. I patted my hands to my ears. Nothing. No blood. What just happened? What is going on?
“Excuse you, asshole. Don’t you need to be heading to the boss’s office” Cracker smirked returning to their work. They seemed to be unperturbed by my ear patting and quizzical staring.
“Yeah” I responded knowing full well Cracker no longer could hear me through their concentration. When Cracker got in the zone, they could make magic happen. Birth a unicorn. That was what us hackers called it. If someone was able to attain that one vital piece of information that led to a huge payoff in the end, it was as likely to happen as someone birthing a unicorn. Hence the expression. But you know what? Cracker could do it. Even in their short time at the company, they had made a name for themselves and worked like a dog to get there. As much as I hated small talk with Cracker, I respected their knowledge of the craft.
I left my desk and headed to the boss’s office. I was still a bit dazed by the weird hallucination that I had just experienced. So, I walked slowly and meandered a bit to think more about the Richard’s case before I had to explain myself. Once I got to the office, I was confronted with a dark black door and silver handle. I knocked once and then let myself in.
My boss sat at his large oak desk filled with large monitors, wires, papers and random computer parts. “Pleaze Charlie, zit down.” I sat down in a chair facing my boss. The man had long features and long hair to match. Long fingers typed on his keyboard before he turned to me. “ I believe zome conradulationz iz in due. Iz it not?”
I blinked. Not registering everything fully.
My boss continued, “You seemed to have fully zquared away the Richard’z case by your own meanz. I congratulate you. Zir, you have birthed a unicorn as I hear your collegez zay.”
I blinked again. Did the boss think I killed Richards to complete the case?!?
I had A LOT of fun writing this chapter and trying to navigate my own ideas with Lucy’s first chapter. Honestly, I am really proud of this piece and cannot wait to read the rest of the story. These types of challenges have been such a great way to increase my personal writing habits and get me out of my comfort zone. I hope you find my short stories interesting and fun, as you will likely see some more of them. Thanks!- L
***Author’s note: This is chapter 7 for a story that has is a collaborative writing project over at Blogger Community. This story has been written by multiple people over the course of March and April. If you would like to join, head over here. I recommend that you read the previous chapters to understand the context of the story. Start with Chapter 1 here.***
Time seemed to move in slow motion. After Ure left for the doctor, Zoe and her mother rushed to her father’s side slowly sinking him to the floor. He still grabbed at his chest and gasped for air.
“Zoe,” her mother said, “Grab some water.” Zoe moved quickly to fill a glass and brought it back to her mother. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what to think. The glass faltered in her hands and water splashed onto her father.
“Ma…” Zoe’s voice was strained.
“No.” Her mother stated. “Now we must pray. Pray the doctor comes quickly.” Alia took the glass, smoothed her husband’s hair and tried to get him to relax. His face was still strained, hands still clutching. Moments turned into hours, as the two women waited in silence for the doctor. Zoe wished she could run away. Run to her room and run to her window. She wanted to be safe by the window and pray for the doctor. Pray that Ure’s legs moved faster than ever.
Did she really wish this? In this sickening moment, did Zoe really wish for her father’s health? She thought of Zion and her future.She thought of the belt and the look in Ure’s eyes as he had gasped out her name with the weapon at his throat. Zoe cursed her thoughts and no longer let her mind drift. She wanted Pa to be safe, that was it.
Alia and Zoe heard a sound from the front of the house. Murmuring voices and shuffling feet as people removed their shoes to enter. Zoe glanced at her father. Still breathing. She looked at the door, Ure entered with the doctor.
“Doctor!” Alia sobbed. She moved out of the way so that the doctor could assess her husband. With medical precision, the doctor felt Rakesh’s pulse and then took out pills from his bag.
“Water” the doctor stated. Not wasting time to form a question. Zoe picked up the glass and handed it to the doctor. Her father was forced to take the pills. After some coughing and sputtering, the pills were swallowed. Soon Zoe’s father’s hands stopped clutching at his chest and his whole body started to relax. The tension in the room started to dissipate as well. Alia clutched at her son’s shoulders and started to sob. The doctor looked up and said to Ure that he was lucky to have such fast legs. “Thank heavens” Zoe thought. Their father was alright for now. Bet he needed to rest and needed to avoid any more stress. The doctor noticed the belt and turned chairs but said nothing. Ure removed his mother and took the doctor to the door. All the while, Zoe had stood still. All the noises, her mother crying, the doctor leaving, Ure talking had washed over her. She felt so far from everything. Was she still in the kitchen? Zoe blinked. In all of the confusion and stress, she had not noticed there another person in the kitchen.
He stood looking at her father. His mother had found Zion’s shoulders and was clinging to them as if he was her son. Zion didn’t seem to mind. Slowly, he blinked and met Zoe’s eyes.
How had she not seen him arrive with the doctor? Had he been here the whole time?
“Zion,” Zoe whispered. “You’re crying.” She saw the tear tracks on his cheeks. Zion smiled. “Please, I will help my mother, if you could help my fa-” Zoe’s voice caught in her throat. She realized just now how close her father had been to death.
“Of course.” Zoin said, lifting Alia’s arms around Zoe. “Ure and I will help your father. You do not need to worry.” Zoe didn’t dare to meet Zion’s eyes as she murmured thanks and left with her mother. She helped her mother to rest on a couch, tucking a blanket around Alia as if she were a child. Her mother soon fell asleep and Zoe realized how stressed and worried her mother had been during those moments in the kitchen. Zoe got up, her head started to feel dizzy. She was exhausted too. She headed to her room. Immediately, she walked to her window. Her solace. As if under a spell, Zoe looked to the sky and stretched out her hands. Oh, how she wished she could fly with the birds and be carried by the wind. She let out a long sigh. Zoe heard a cough from down below.
There Zion stood looking back at her. She started to move away from the window.
“Wait!” Zion cried “Please, Zoe, please just, may we… can we…. I mean” He stuttered. Zoe looked down and her heart filled with a warm honey sensation. She knew he had not meant to frighten her. How could he know that this window was where she laid her heart bare? That by sitting by this window, she felt safe to be herself. She slowly moved back into view.
“Yes?” She whispered.
“Let’s, just for a moment, look at the sky together, alright?” Zion looked up at Zoe expectantly. Eyes wide and hopeful.
“Yes, I would like that.” Zoe smiled. In Zion’s eyes, she saw more than hope; she saw love. She smiled once more and glanced up at the clear blue sky.
This is one of the first longer pieces of fiction writing that I have done in some time. I know 800 words doesn’t sound that much but I felt very proud to have written this much. I am excited to continue my short story writing and I feel like I have so much to learn!
The irony is that after everything
after all the happenstance and
I still see myself in the woods
In a peaceful cabin surrounded by
beautiful oak, maple and pine.
Picking strawberries from a field
and whistling to myself.
My hair is tied in a bun
with short strands flowing in the wind
as the breeze brushes by.
I am humming to myself a
tune created from my own
I look up and gaze out across
the valley. The warm sun hitting
I smile to myself because this
place is marvelous,
such a gift.
I never thought it could be called
A slight rustle from behind,
I turn to catch you walking
through the forest.
A smile settles on my lips again as
I glimpse you through the
I know you’ll arrive soon.
Three more strawberries are added to my basket
and one berry for tasting.
I hear you call my name.
A soft spoken murmur that
casts a spell on me.
I turn smiling again
but just to myself.
For I say,
“Hello, How are you?”
“Picking Strawberries?” you surmise.
“Well tis the season”
“Eating strawberries season?”
You laugh and bend down to grab a strawberry.
Delicious and sweet
I taste one too.
The sweet crunch reminds me
of everything wonderful about
Everything wonderful about
“Yummy!” I cry.
You laugh, chuckle at my
“You ready to go back home?”
“I think so”
“They’ll be more for tomorrow”
“I am sure of that”
You take my basket as I grab
my shoes from the field and
we head back home together.
“Can we sing a song?”
I ask randomly.
“About summer?” you respond.
“How did you know?”
” I heard you singing to yourself earlier”
I smile and blush all at once.
“That song was for the trees” I state.
“But it did sound lovely” you counter.
“Well thank you” I bow dramatically
“But you’ll sing a song for me, won’t you?”
You look up to the sky. Then with a toss of your head you sigh and smile all at once.
“I think I will” you grin.
Then I listen and wait.
At first, all I hear are our footsteps and my breath. But I know the
song is forming in your head
Then in a wonderful crecendo you start to hum
“Oh for the day the sun breathes
it makes me wonder!
Oh for the beauty of the green forest woods a sunder!
And I wish
and I see
That my one true love
is standing next to me.”
I blush and respond in the same tune,
“And I wish and I see that my one true love they are standing next to me.” You smile and giggle
and now that I am content.
I grab your hand, squeeze
tightly and sing,
“That my one true love
is standing next to me.”
I was inspired to go through my journal from about a year ago and re-read some of the poems that I wrote back then. I thought it would be neat to have a week where I showcased some of my past penned poems that have never seen the light of day. To be honest, I was motivated by the “Throwback Friday” posts found on the Go Dog Go Cafe. If you haven’t, take a moment to see all the greater writers who share on that page! Photo by Sean Musil on Unsplash.
light flickers from the
dirty dusty work bench
as a man hovers,
hunched over a large black mass
he turns and I see
his yellow stained lips and
red viened eyes
“Igor, is that you?”
the snarl of my name on his twisted lips
like the white petaled rose
I saw this morning
“It is time, Igor”
His breath hits my face
and the stench of the bench
continues to bring tears to my eyes.
I walk to the machine and flip the switch
His eyes glare in madness as
he stares at the large black mass
“Igor, Stand back”
I hear a howl and a sharp scream
grating my fingernails and teeth
“It’s alive, Igor!!!”
He scrambles closer and peers down
In one swift movement
The blackness fills my vision
and I knew
This poem is inspired by the Monster She Wrote, Prompt Challenge: Day 1 Frankenstien by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I will be trying to follow this prompt challenge as much as I can throughout the month of October! (But no promises) I look forward to all the spooky vibes! Photo by 𝘋𝘖𝘕𝘖𝘝𝘈𝘕 𝙍 𝙀 𝙀 𝙑 𝙀 𝙎 on Unsplash.
The glass clinked against the wooden table as Rifa set down her drink. The dewy moisture made the sound dull unenthusiastic;there was no ring. Rifa turned around and looked out of the window. She lit a cigarette and slumped against the window frame. She could feel the sweat bead against her hairline as the open pane let in a slight breeze. Not enough. Not in this heat. The slick feeling under her shirt made even cotton uncomfortable. Inhale. Exhale.
“This endless summer will be the death of me.” Rifa sighed.
This post is insipred by the Tuesday Writing Prompt at Go Do Go Cafe, hosted by Devereaux Frazier and Beth Amanda : “edge of summer”
Photo by Ann from Unsplash