Juged and Dydea

“Dear God, Thank you for giving me this Cylum. Please allow me to bond with him. I love him.”

“Dear God, Thank you for giving me this Cylum. Please allow me to bond with him. I love him.”

Dydea caressed the course bristles on his back and they began oozing an oil filled with ensim. He kissed her neck erotically. The bristles stimulated her. Dydea wept as the oil flowed over her skin. She could feel it entering her. Every ensim burrowing into her pores. She cried out in ecstasy.

Suddenly, her body melted into a puddle on the sheets. She opened her eyes, but there was only blackness and the sound of a hammer striking a metal nail. 

“Hello! Help!”

She could feel her flesh tearing. Her body convulsed from the intensity of the pain. She did not see herself, but she could feel her limbs being ripped from her. She lay in a pool of blood in the thick black room. She was nothing but the blood.

A sliver of light grew brighter from a crack in the floor. Her blood spilled across the floorboards. She could feel the warmth of the light. She inched closer to it. Not because she had limbs, because she did not, but because she must and the light pulled at her. She flowed towards it magnetically. Bent her eyes towards the crack and peered down below.

“Why? Why?” Dydea cried. “Why do you always do this to me? I loved him. And our love was beautiful.”

She could see two Cylums below her dressed in white robes. The fragrant smell of Dunselias drifted up through the floorboards. The light was coming from their souls glowing. She almost didn’t recognize them. It was her and Juged.

“My love!” she yelled. 

She was dripping onto them and the white robes were stained by the bright red blood.

The Dydea that she was looking at looked up at the crack in the ceiling. Blood splashed onto her face. She was holding a bouquet of Dunselias.

“You have no commitment, Dydea,” she said, pensively.

Juged and Dydea were both staring up at her now. She could feel their penetrating gaze condemning her. 

“But I have love,” she told them.

“There is no love without commitment.”

Dreyama B-2

By Daniela Parker

Cyndi opened the hatch to the Dreyama B-2 and the smell of new cagskin seats wafted towards her three noses. 

“Smells so good!” she exclaimed.

“This is the new model 32567 Dreyama B-2.  32 wagnuns power, fully automated, Eco-friendly, 7 hatch, temperature controlled, and the radio gets unlimited service across the galaxy…Even reaches Seduwa on Vegas 3.”

“Really? I have cousins there.”

“Have a seat!” 

The dealer reached out a long tentacle and pushed Cyndi forward. Cyndi put one sucker on the open hatch to balance herself and sat down in the deep driver’s pit. The controls were shiny and had the universal markings on them, scribed in a golden glowing fasphuwa stone. When she sat, the belt automatically wrapped around her, forming to her Capion body, which was more spherical than other species, but in her case even more so, ever since her birthing at least. That’s what four little Capions will do to you; Stretch you out from all that tugging and sucking.

“Wow!” she exclaimed.

Cyndi imagined herself in her new ship, driving across the galaxy. Enough room to put the kids in the back. And it sure would be Eco-friendly. She’d save a bundle on Prada every month. The dealer smiled. Cyndi liked the red lining on the wheel. She wrapped her tentacles around it. 

“Oh, wow!” she exclaimed again.

“Mama!” 

Cyndi was startled by the nasal voice of her husband.

“Your ship is ready. Get out of there!” he nagged.

Cyndi’s feelers drooped. She wiggled her way out of the deep lush seats and sucked the dealers hand.

“Thanks anyway,” she said, sadly.

Her husband was waiting in the distance with their new used ship. The paint was chipped and it was small, but it was what they could afford. He puffed out his chest proudly.

“Are you coming?” he said.

“Yes, Papa.”

Old Tree

You carved your name into me
Once when it was good
You spent hours beneath my shade
And laid your head upon my wood

You called me “pretty lady”
And said you’d never leave
As the colors of noon faded
Into gentle eve

Each day you told me stories
Laid down your garden hoe
But then the sky flashed lightening
And I sadly watched you go

I stayed tethered to the ground
My face upturned towards the rain
Listening to the somber sound
Of you tromping cross the plain

My calloused feet have stiffened
Cursed by their own strength
Days flicker like a candle
And fog rolls down the bank

I wear your name upon my breast
An old scar dressed in dust
I’ve grown fifty feet and wide
Now your spade is cracked with rust

I’ve seen summers come and summers gone
But still I long for you
Children play and sing their song
Flowers sparkle wet with dew

But where is that man I love
Who smiled so happily
Who promised me a lifetime
And broke his vow to me?

Now I see someone emerging
Near the rabbits and chipmunk
An old man with his cane in hand
Bent and twisted as my trunk

Is it he who ran so fast?
Has he returned to me at last?
“Hello, pretty lady” his old voice said.
“I have finally come to rest my head.”

The Professor at Lewis Hall

That was rude. I’m not a morning person either, but didn’t have to give a dirty look.

Dr. Gallegos watched the student cross the street and vanish into the distance. She felt a dizzying jolt of pain in her head, regained her balance, and continued toward Lewis Hall for her early class.

Only off in emergencies or if I’m throwing up. That’s the rule! she reminded herself.

She tried to reposition her heavy messenger bag, but the strap still cut into her shoulder, so she hurried down the sidewalk.

“You look horrible,” Jonathon said as she passed through the door.

“Yeah, I’m sick today.”

Dr. Gallegos felt bloated and congested and had a terrible headache. She began searching for her Ibuprofen. She kept a bottle just for occasions like this and if she took 800 mg, there was hope it might start working before class.

Jonathon moved his gaze back toward his phone. The students were always on their phones. She remembered when people used to talk to each other before class. The pain in her head intensified, so she took her pills and closed her eyes.

This is going to be a bad day, she thought, remembering her thirty minute lecture and the three classes that lay ahead.

“Woah! Dr. Gallegos, you look bad today!”

Dr. Gallegos opened her eyes.

“Thank you, Lexi. I can always appreciate your honesty. Hopefully, that will continue during discussion.”

She had meant it to be funny, but her statement came out mean. She struggled to smile to prove it was a joke, but Lexi stomped to her seat and started scrolling through her cell. Dr. Gallegos tried to breathe through the pain. She set her laptop out on the podium, turned the main computer on, and logged into her powerpoint.

“Already 8:27?” she said, reading the computer screen.

She bent down to find the papers she had to return and the pain in her head overwhelmed her, so she gave herself a few minutes to kneel behind the podium and gather back her strength.

You can do it. The semester’s almost over!

“Are you alright Professor?” Jacklyn asked.

Dr. Gallegos had moaned out loud.

“Yes, Jackie. I’m just sick.”

Jacklyn stumbled back with wide eyes. Dr. Gallegos stood up. Those that were looking, recoiled in fear, but the doctor stood in front of them, perplexed. One student tried to start a sentence, but the words wouldn’t come.

“Okay guys!” she laughed. “It’s only a headache!”

“Your face!” Lexi shouted.

Screams rolled through the auditorium. One student ran out the back door. Dr. Gallegos brought her hands up to touch her forehead. Felt a long hard ridge along her brow as students began running out the hall. Their panic infected her. She felt faint. Felt an icy chill spread down her trembling limbs, but continued her hands down her temple to her cheeks where the skin was also lumpy and sharp.

Her eyes welled up with tears as she sifted through all the explanations in her mind with no result. Just then, she noticed Jonathon. He was the only one left in the empty hall. He sat back in his seat and shoved his hands in his sweater pockets.

“You were always my favorite teacher.”

The Portal

“Shut up!” Florian shouted.

Gunther shoved Florian to the ground, slamming his head against a low concrete wall in the parking lot.

When Florian opened his eyes, he could see the kids running off. He listened to the pattering of shoes striking cold pavement and their backpacks clanking behind them as they disappeared. Florian rubbed the back of his sore head, cursing to himself. The boys who lived with him at the Foster home often made snide remarks, sneering and deriding him until he’d put on his earphones and hoodie and slink off to his room. Gunther was the leader of the group, and his beatings were getting worse. Florian tried to keep to himself at Gymnasium, because he didn’t want the smart kids finding out he lived in a Foster home. There was nothing to do in his room but read and do homework, which made him smarter, perpetuating a horrible cycle of torment and isolation. But he didn’t care. Education was his way out. Then, he wouldn’t have to care about what anyone said.

The other boys went home to visit their parents. Most of the kids in the home were in a special program to reunite them with their families, but Florian had no family to reunite with. So, he stayed alone with the social workers, helping them with the groceries and household chores. After Florian cleaned out the leaves from the storm gutters, he took his scooter for a long ride. He took it far away from the village where the country roads begin to wind and the hills become wild with trees and rolling fields. Then, he found a good place to stand on the side of the road and watch the horses graze as they flicked off flies with their long coarse tails.

Staring out at the lonely landscape made him feel at home. The German countryside mirrored how he felt about himself. Alive, but unnoticed, and quietly disregarded. Could he ever be happy with that? Could he be as carefree as those damn horses?

The sun began its descent behind the horizon. Florian zipped up his sweater as the chill of dusk gripped his bones like the thin cold fingers of an eerie phantom. He could hear the buzzing of the flies provoking the dusty horses. One of the brown ones gave a fly a smack with his tail and the fly went tumbling off.

“Good one,” Florian cheered.

The faint smell of dry manure wafted up at him. He kind of liked it. The manure mixed with the smell of grass and the fresh spring air and signified the end of a long winter. Signified the end of sleepy days covered in snow and the end of grey foggy skies. He took one last look at the hills before turning back and pushed off, but as he started rolling down the street, something flashed behind him. He looked back, stumbling off his scooter in horror.

“What the?”

His body trembled, but he caught himself, clenching the handlebars tightly as a large spiraling light radiated in front of him. Florian squinted at it and shook his head, trying to believe what he was seeing. Then the light vanished.

“Did you see that?” he asked the horses.

But the horses hadn’t stopped grazing.

As Florian scooted back home, he thought about what he had seen. He couldn’t decide if he had finally gone mad or not, but he definitely wouldn’t tell anyone. All the while, he couldn’t get the image of the spiraling light out of his mind.

He wanted to go back the first chance he got, but the next day was a Monday. So, he went to school as usual and then came home by the public bus. All the kids were talking and laughing with each other, and some of the Foster kids were standing at the very front of the bus cussing in English just for fun. Florian sat alone, mulling over his depression as usual. He was about to put his earphones in when a classmate climbed on. It was Karen, a brunette beauty in his senior class. He quickly put his head down so she wouldn’t see he had been staring, but she had already caught his gaze and pushed herself towards his seat.

“Hi,” she said, gazing down at him with large brown eyes.

Nervously, he fumbled with his earphones. Tried not to notice her glossy lip balm and thought about just putting in his earphones and ignoring her.

“Can I sit here?”

He nodded a quick yes, and she sat down, dropping her backpack into the small space in front of her shoes.

They found themselves uncomfortably close. She looked around the bus anxiously and he decidedly shoved his earphones in his ears. Then, they both fidgeted with their hands, looking anywhere but at one another. The bus came to a loud stop and Florian jumped up.

“Uh… My stop,” he stammered.

“Oh, sure,” she smiled and stood to let him pass. “Tschuess!”

Florian rushed home and did his homework as fast as he could. Then, asked for permission to go out.

“Sechs uhr,” the social worker warned, telling him to be back before six o’clock.

Florian shook his head and rushed out the door.

When he arrived at the field, it was already late. Florian sat on the side of the road and gazed out at the horizon.

Nothing.

Six o’clock came and he had to go back. One of the social workers, Helga, scolded him as he came rushing through the door.

“Sorry, I fell off my scooter!”

Helga was a short woman, but a hefty one hundred kilograms. She was quite friendly, but could be as sharp as a whip with the teenagers. She had always felt a little sorry for Florian and thought he was a pretty good kid. As he traveled across the room, she saw he hadn’t any holes in his clothes and sensed a lie. He sat at the dinner table and they shared a tender, knowing smile.

“Where’d you go?” asked a ten-year-old named Sebastian.

“Nowhere.”

“Maybe he had a date with Karen,” Gunther, joked.

Everyone laughed.

“Who’s Karen?” asked Helga.

Florian gave Gunther an angry look, his face turning red, and balled up his fists under the table. Gunther just whispered to one of the other boys and then looked back at him long and hard. Not so hard that Helga noticed, but hard enough to be threatening.

“Tell me now,” Helga laughed.

“She’s no one,” Florian mumbled.

“Just a girl he likes.”

“Frau Marx, he doesn’t want to tell you he likes her, but everyone knows!”

“Is that right?”

Helga laughed it off. She knew not to keep pushing from years of experience handling teenage boys.

“Well, eat your dinner. You’ve got chores to do.”

Florian brooded at the table for a long while. They would be happy when he was gone, he thought. If that light was a portal, he’d escape from this place.

Florian didn’t have a chance to go back at all that week, but he spent all his free time sketching the spiraling light in his notebooks. He wondered what it was; an alien, a portal, a government experiment? He started devising a plan to spend the whole weekend camped out in the field, telling Helga he was going to stay over at a new friend’s house. He called himself from a public phone and stored the number on his cell under the name Marcus. Then showed her the number to prove he was real. On Saturday morning, he woke up extra early and waited for the staff to go on the balcony for a smoke before stuffing his backpack full of food and soda.

At ten, he scooted back to the same place he had seen the light. Once he got there, he wished he had brought more to read. He got bored only after a few hours, but still he waited. Waited until the sun went down and he had to pull a blanket over his shoulders to ward off the cold. It was hard not to dose off, but that’s what he brought the soda for. He cracked open a Coke. It sizzled as it opened and he took a long sip.

Suddenly, he saw the light flash. He dropped the soda can in the grass and jumped up, watching the light swirl into a small point. He walked slowly towards it. He thought it might disappear as he came closer, like a rainbow, but the light only grew brighter in front of him. So, he reached out his hand to the light, but hesitated to touch it. Would it burn him? Would he disappear? He stood looking at it. This was his chance. The light seemed to be calling him, mesmerizing him even as fear gripped his heart. As he came closer, he could feel the warmth on his face. And then it vanished.

*******************

“Hey you!”

Florian turned around.

“Where’d you go last night?” Gunther said as he approached him with three of his friends.

“Nowhere.”

Gunther shoved him in the chest.

“Did you see your pretty girl?”

He shoved him again.

“Come on, man,” Florian said, stepping back from the group.

“You’re a fucking weirdo!”

Gunther punched him in the face and the other boys kicked him. Florian fell to the ground, writhing in pain as they kicked until he couldn’t move and then ran off high five-ing. After a few minutes, Florian picked himself up and wiped away the blood and tears from his face.

“Fucking losers,” he muttered. “Next time I’m going in that light. I’ll show you losers.”

He stopped at the Markt to use the restroom and clean himself up. Then, bought a soda and some candy and began walking home. He was sure Helga would notice his face. He had cleaned the blood off well, but his eye was cut and bruised and his clothes were stained with mud.

All he could think about on the walk home was how much he wanted to disappear. The thought recurred obsessively in his mind. He tried to stamp it out with his shoes as he stepped. He stuffed his hands in his sweater pockets angrily and furled his brow. Still, the unquenchable desire to end his life remained. If he hadn’t seen the light then maybe he would have hung himself on the tree in the pasture. But, this was even better. He could go somewhere else. He could travel heroically to another world. He could show them.

When he came inside, Helga rushed towards him.

“Oh my! What happened, Florian?”

She sat him down on the couch.

“Nothing.”

Helga got an icepack out of the freezer and gave it to him for his eye.

“Florian,” she looked at him and sighed. “I know the kids make fun of you. Tell me who it was.”

“I’d rather not get beat up again if that’s okay with you.”

Helga put her hand on his shoulder and he flinched a little from the pain.

“Poor thing! Those monsters!”

One of the boys walked through the kitchen and then went off to his room when he saw Florian. When they were alone again, Helga leaned in closer.

“I’ll tell you something, Florian. I’ve been working here for thirteen years and seen a lot of boys come and go. You are smart and kind. Don’t let your situation make your destiny. You make your own destiny.”

If anyone was like a mother to him, it was Helga. She gave him a hug and then left him to his ice.

The following Saturday, Florian went off to his fake friend’s house again. She wouldn’t let him spend the night, but let him stay out till eleven. Florian thought that would be okay and took off for the hills.

When the light came, Florian was ready. He ran up to it and stood as close as he could, trying to catch his breath. This time he was going to step in. He didn’t care. If he was lucky maybe it would suck him out of this world into another dimension or some other place. Even though he liked Karen, he figured it was a long shot anyway. He didn’t think anything here was worth staying for.

He readied himself with a deep breath and expelled all the fear from his lungs. He kept his hands at his sides and closed his eyes, lifting his foot up off the dry grass as the light spun in front of him. He could feel the warmth on his cheeks and on his chest. It felt like summer, drawing him in.

As he stepped into the portal, he felt his will to survive stirring in his soul, swelling up in him like a giant wave. The light was blinding. Hot. He felt himself dying and was surprised when he fought against it.

*******************

Florian opened his eyes.

Helga clasped her hand to her mouth. Tears were streaming down her cheeks.

Florian could hear the slow pulse of the heart monitor as it beeped. He found himself lying in a hospital bed.

“Did you see the portal?” he asked, sleepily.

Helga took his hand, careful not to touch the Iv.

“Portal?”

“The light! You grabbed me out from it, didn’t you?”

Helga wiped tears from her face.

“Gunther and you were in a fight, dear. You hit your head on the pavement. You’ve been in a coma for two weeks. We’re so glad you’re okay. You must not worry. Gunther has been removed from the home. He’ll never hurt you again.”

Florian laid back in the bed and inhaled a slow deliberate breath. His mouth was dry and his lips were cracked. He tried to form the question, but it took some time to wet his throat.

“Then what was the portal?”

*******************

In one dimension Florian died. And in one, he lived. As the portal spun, so spun the endless possibilities for his life. The great pinwheel whirled as his spirit breathed on it a cool soft breath. And Florian fell from blade to blade.

“Florian?” Helga hollered in the biting chill of night.

She flashed her flashlight on the tired melancholy horses. The grass bent softly in the wind and the old tree bowed over the earth heavy and silent.

The Ride

“This is going to be fun!”

“I hate long lines.”

“It’s only seventy minutes.”

Vanessa looked down at the kids.

“Seventy minutes is a long time,” she said, cynically.

The kids were behaving for the moment, but other children were already climbing along the fence, sitting on the railing, and wreaking havoc, and she knew it was only a matter of time before hers joined in.

“Don’t you dare!” she warned.

JJ looked up at his mother and smiled maliciously.

“Just listen to the music,” Kenny said, trying to calm her.

“What is this?”

“This is the happiest place on Earth. It’s dwarf music!”

Vanessa listened to the simple melody shouting against the noise of the crowd. It was giving her a migraine, but she decided to drop the subject. The line slowly winded into a cool cavern, built from cement, but painted and carved to resemble wood. The noise of the crowd washed over her. The kids busied themselves by playing with the game consoles scattered throughout the line. Vanessa could hear the faint sound of screaming filtering through the noisy crowd.

“It must be a scary ride,” she reported.

“Why do you say that?”

“I can hear screaming.”

Kenny tried to listen, but was distracted by a mining game. He tried to match up the jewels on the touch screen and then confessed, “I hope it isn’t much longer. I have to use the bathroom.”

Vanessa peered ahead. The line only bent into darkness.

“I think that time was wrong. It’s been more than an hour and I can’t see the end.”

“I really have to pee!”

Kenny and Vanessa searched for the end of the line.

“Just get out of line.”

“I don’t see an exit. Plus I waited too long. It’s been two hours. I’m going on this ride!”

“Mommy, I’m tired,” Arianna complained, tugging at Vanessa’s shirt.

“Just a little bit longer.”

“Carry me.”

“I can’t carry you. Walk.”

Arianna sat down defiantly.

“Get up.”

“Carry me!”

Vanessa tried lifting her heavy body. Then gave up, exhausted.

“Get up!”

“We’re almost there. Can’t you hear that?”

The screams were getting louder.

The line inched forward. Vanessa left Arianna sitting against the cold wall.

“Bye!”

But the threat didn’t phase her. She nudged herself over to her mother on her bottom.

“Hear that?” a hefty man turned back towards them.

Kenny chimed in.

“I heard this is worth the wait.”

“It’d better be worth the wait,” said the stranger.

“Okay, I have to go.”

He was referring to peeing.

“Just wait a little longer,” Vanessa begged.

“I’m going to pee my pants!”

“You can hold it, please! Don’t let me alone with these kids!”

Kenny stuffed his hands in his jean pockets, defeated.

“Fine.”

The line folded and twisted through the cold cavern, descending deeper and deeper underground. The children began first; complaining, crying. Then the adults in front of them started hollering down the deep tunnel, “Hey, how much longer?”

Kenny and the man decided to take a walk out of line to see how far it actually went. Vanessa waited another hour, carrying Arianna on her back as Jackson trailed behind them angrily. Then finally they returned.

“We gotta get out of here!” Kenny said.

Vanessa recognized fear in his voice, but didn’t understand.

“Why?”

“We walked for an hour. The line doesn’t end! I finally peed in the dwarf creak.”

“What do you mean, doesn’t end?”

Her eyes were already glazed over from exhaust. She was having trouble comprehending.

“Let’s go!” the man instructed his family.

They tried rushing passed them. Then stopped abruptly, as if they had slammed into something. They put their hands up in the air. Vanessa read the terror in their wide horrified eyes. Saw their skin drain of its color.

“What?” she asked.

The man pushed and knocked at something hard.

“There’s a wall here!”

His wife started crying. She dropped to the cold cement like Arianna.

“What?” Vanessa said, trying to pull herself out of the nightmare.

Kenny tried to take JJ, but also crashed into the invisible wall. He tried to see it, but there was nothing there to see.

“We can’t go back. We can move forward, but we can’t go back!”

Desperation sharpened his voice.

He beat against the air, the people behind them oblivious, nudging them forward in a daze.

“Help!” Vanessa screamed.

The kids cried. Panic set in. Everyone was screaming. Propelled by some mysterious force. Trapped in the real ride; A steep winding descent into madness.

Pumpkin Pie

“That looks good!”

“It’s gluten free!”

“I won’t eat it!” Savanah said.

“Come on! I spent hours baking. You have to try!”

Savanah’s mother placed the pie on the table and walked away. Savanah stared at it. It smelled ordinary enough and had an ordinary color. Placed on a fancy white plate at the center of the table between a poinsettia and two white candles. Savanah rest her head on her palms as Grandpa walked by.

“You have to wait,” he smiled.

“I don’t want it!” Savanah sulked.

But Grandpa was already gone.

Just then, the pie wiggled.

“Mommy!” Savanah yelled, staring suspiciously.

There were too many people for her voice to be heard. She got on her tippy toes and leaned towards the pie. Tiny bubbles were forming on the smooth orange surface. Then, the center cracked and split down the middle. Savanah cowered behind the table, but gathered up her courage, leaned in closer and stared unflinchingly as a line of tiny bugs crawled out.

They formed a line like black ants across the table. Crawled all the way up to an inch away from her chin. Savanah squinted hard at the creatures. They looked like tiny men and were trying to say something to her, but she couldn’t understand.

“You better not get into that pie!” said her mother.

“Mommy! Mommy! There’s something in the pie! Aliens! Mommy, Look!”

Her mother laughed. Took up her knife in her hand and pushed passed Savanah.

“Oh, Savvy! Such a wild imagination!”

Savanah searched the table, but the creatures were gone. The pie was smooth as if just out of the oven. Savanah’s eyes were wide as her mother cut through the middle of the pie, cut out a large piece, and put it on a plate.

“Sure you don’t want a piece?”

Savanah cringed.

“No, thank you, Mama.”

“Suit yourself,” she said, and gave it to Grandpa.

The Fading World

Veronica was born different and she was three when she realized it. There was something different as her mother held her up to the mirror.
“Mama, gone!” she said.
“Yes, V, and Mommy comes back again.”
“Peek-a-boo?”
“Peek-a-boo.”

And so, she walked through life. All of her friends fading in and out. Grandpa and Grandma never came back and Mother called it “dead.” Sometimes her friends disappeared for months or even years. Then, after years something else had also faded that she couldn’t quite place. She could barely recognize the edges of their face. Conversations seemed distant. Strained. She’d wait for them to return, but they wouldn’t. So, V made new friends. Each time with the same result.
Mother was always there. Each time her face emerged, like joy born from a thick fog, V rushed in to embrace her.
“Your face has changed, Mother,” she said, feeling her soft worn cheeks.
“And so has yours,” she smiled.

As V sat in her rocking chair, she looked out at her faded world.
Why must I be here if everything fades?
No matter how many years had passed, and she counted ninety-two. She still remained constant in this fading world. And each time a loved one went, her heart felt broken and her eyes wet, but still she remained. Even as her hair turned gray and her skin wrinkled.
V watched a horse from her porch in the pasture weave in and out of existence. She tried to remember its details when it was gone before it formed again minutes later. She rested her head against the rickety chair and enjoyed the brilliant colors of the sunset as it faded away, too.
I’m glad I enjoyed it, she thought, closing her eyes. While it was here.

Seashells

The deafening scream of sirens wailing startled me from the dishes. I wiped my sudsy hands off on my jeans and ran.

“Kids! Kids!”
When I rounded the corner I met their wide eyes. Lifted Monica up into my arms and we started for the door.
“Get out of the house! Hurry!”
I took Adam by the hand and rushed them out. The kids began crying, holding their ears in pain while I searched the sky.
Jenny’s home had gone last Tuesday. Sometimes three or four would be taken in one neighborhood. Sometimes months would pass, but the fear never did. It turned in our stomach like curdled milk. It lingered in our nightmares.
Monica squeezed her little arms around me tightly.
“Mommy!”
There was terror in her voice.
“I see it! Run!”
Adam raced ahead of us.
“Stay with us!” I screamed.
“It’s coming!” he yelled. “It’s coming!”
Suddenly a large hole tore the sky and a long smooth tentacle appeared. The winds whipped into a violent frenzy. The kids stopped crying and just stood there looking up open mouthed as it grew longer, larger, closer, covering the street with its thick dark shadow.
I nudged Adam to go. Tried to carry him, but couldn’t handle his large body, so set him back on the ground.
“Run!” I cried, hysterically.
The tentacle dug into the ground and the pavement began to crack and crumble around it as it scooped up the cement and the earth. We ran behind a parked car as pieces fell around us. Another family was hiding. The father’s eyes met mine. I begged him with my entire being to stay and he understood.
“Who’s house?” I yelled.
The man looked around the edge of the car. The sweat was beading up on his black skin, but he hadn’t let go of his son to wipe his face.
“203, I think.”
He looked back at my stone cold eyes and knew it was mine and again, we shared a solemn moment.

*

     “MaKia! MaKia! Look at my shell!”
Nedimiah was glad she went to the beach. She held out her prize for MaKia to see.
“Wow!” MaKia said, wading through space. “Is there a family in it? Be sure to wash it out first.”

The Day the Insects Died

I looked out upon the Redwood forest and remembered a long time ago, when while standing still, I could listen to the low song of the woods. Small birds lifting off branches. Flies and mosquitos dancing next to the bank of the creak bed. A small squirrel scurrying up the Redwood bark. I used to smile to myself. Watch a butterfly flutter off. Try to follow it for a while before it drifted too far from the trail and disappeared into the ferns down the basin.

Then, came February and a slew of scientists. Word was the insects were disappearing. That’s when I began listening even harder, not only for the tiny songs of my friends, but the occasional conversation of the unknowing new visitors who roamed the forest in secret with their cumbersome equipment.

“Did you get that sample?”

“Down 60% from last week.”

And their voices faded away.

A part of me had noticed before, but I hadn’t wanted to see. There weren’t as many squirrels and the trees were looking sick. The birds had gone somewhere else. I thought it strange, but went about my day. And then I was standing there and it couldn’t be ignored any longer. The forest was silent.

I always asked myself the same question.

“Is this the end of them?”

Then I’d sit in the muddy edge of the creak and thumb through the cool earth. Try and find one, I thought. Just one and you’ll know it’s still okay.
It took me longer and it took the scientist longer, too. And months went by, and we were both worried as the loud symphony of the forest diminished. I searched for my butterfly. I walked all day long. And finally as the sun began to set, I knew that she had gone.

So, I climbed to the top of the mountain where the trees still stretched higher. I don’t remember if I cried, but I stood there until I was in the dark. I didn’t care. I wanted to know if the night would make its sweet sound again; That rhythmic song of insects dancing.

Ten years passed and the birds flew off. The lab left a few scientists behind to drink whiskey and smoke and crawl up into their tent with their heavy equipment most days around four o-clock. And here we were all in one place, a generation lost in space, waiting for a murmur or a hum. And sometimes I’d see the flames of their camp, climbing high into the sky, crackling fireworks in the silent PM.

Or I’d meet one on the trail.

“Did you find one?” I’d ask.

But he’d just turn away.

And I wondered if the insects knew. When the forest died, I wondered who. What Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, would let the sound of the forest choke? I joined the scientists and had a smoke.

*Inspired by Don McLean’s “American Pie” and the vanishing insects

Danika

Marlene felt her skin stretch and pain shoot through her stomach into her groin. She shut her eyes and forced another breath before bearing down hard. The distinct feeling of her skin tearing sent her into a panic.

“My skin is tearing! My skin is tearing!”

“Breathe!”

A sudden fog surrounded her. Was it the pain or the lack of oxygen? She wasn’t sure, but she new there was only one way to end this misery.

“Give her oxygen.”

A nurse placed a plastic mask over her face. She struggled to open her eyes. Struggled to sip one last breath before fainting.

“Don’t faint. Breathe, Marlene!”

Feeling someone squeeze her hand, she screamed a horrific cry. A strange hard thing crowned. She imagined its head at the edge of light and could not hear her own voice filling the room any longer. There was only time, paused like a dream. She could see her connection with it like a band of light as it slipped from her body. And all was over.

When Marlene came to, the doctor brought her baby close to her face. She could smell the blood on it. Smell its innocence. She reached to take off her oxygen mask and give the young flesh its first kiss.

Smiling, she touched the fat little arms and kissed her.

“Danika,” she announced.

The doctor repeated, “Danika,” to the nurse who recorded the name as Danika Lee. Then the doctor carried the baby to a large machine and nestled the child tightly in its grasp. Strapped the little arms and legs. Brought down the lid over the baby. Marlene had fought against tears, but her baby’s cries were too much.

Marlene felt her first pang of maternal instinct. She told herself this was necessary as she listened to the shrill sound of a saw blade spinning. Her baby stopped crying. Marlene closed her eyes. This pain was even more intense than the first.

“Body is severed.”

Marlene felt a numbness come over her as she realized it was too late to stop. She waited for an answer and the seconds moved like years. It was too much for her to take, so she struggled herself up from the bed, fighting against the nurses and her husband, and stumbled across the room. The staff held her back as she stood before the machine that held her baby prisoner, tears rolling down her eyes as she waited.

“It’s okay,” her husband said, placing a gentle hand over her arm.

She discovered a new hatred for him. The wait seemed like hours. It was only seconds.

“Spinal connection is successful!” the tech said.

Slowly, the lid opened and there was her baby sleeping soundly.

“Now Danika will lead a healthy life,” the doctor smiled.

Marlene reached into the incubator. The fat little arms were gone. She touched the soft new artificial limbs. It felt similar to the original but lacked of something. Realizing Marlene’s own fingers were in fact not original, she found a new bond between mother and child. Something she would now be able to enjoy for several hundred years.

Under the Bed

David climbed out of bed and swung his door wide open, standing defiantly in the bright light of the hall in his cotton Pokemon pjs.

“Go back to bed!” his mother shouted from the living room.

David was sure his mommy had a superhero ability to see through walls. He turned apprehensively toward his room. His duvet was jumbled into a mess at the foot of the bed and the folds were casting menacing shadows resembling long monster faces. David had stuffed his dirty clothes and some toys under the bed in a mad rush to watch TV and some of their colors and edges were poking out of the darkness in unsettling shapes. It was hard to make out what they were, but he knew not to be afraid. So, he watched the shapes closely as he inched himself back into the dark.

Standing at his mattress, his thoughts drifted momentarily to drawing pictures on the floor, when suddenly he felt something grab at his foot. David screamed, falling back in horror.

“Mommy! Mommy!” he said, running to the living room.

Tears streamed down his red face.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?”

She wiped the wet hair away from his sweaty brow.

“There’s a monster under my bed!”

At that, she laughed and squeezed him tight.

“Don’t worry, baby! There’s no such thing as monsters.”

She picked his small body up and he tangled his arms around her neck as they walked back to his room. Then, she lay him in his bed and pulled the covers up snug to his neck.

“See,” she said, gazing into his glassy eyes. “Everything is safe.”

David wanted to tell her otherwise, but was lulled by the full tones of her voice and the soft touch of her fingers combing through his hair. He let her walk out the door, but not a minute later, remembered he was alone again in the dark. So, he shook away his sleepiness and kicked off the covers, sitting cross-legged on his mattress.

David peered over the edge of the bed. Everything was eerie quiet. A gentle moonlight cast a dim light across the room, but the floor lay in deep shadows. The space under his bed was hard to see from above. So, David jumped off and got down on his hands and knees, peering into the dark. He could see his ball and the edge of a dirty shirt. Maybe the monster was hiding. He pressed his cheek against the cold hard wood. He choked down his fear and stretched his hand under the bed.

When David could see through to the other side, he began feeling a little more at ease. Then, suddenly the ground shook. David screamed and pressed his body against the floor. He tried to grip as it shook, but he couldn’t get his small hands to stop himself and hit his back against the steel bed frame.

When the house stopped shaking, David began to sob. But, just as he was about to run to his mother, he was stopped by a strange movement above the mattress. He held his breath and squeezed his eyes shut. He listened to the door swing open once again. He listened to his heart pounding in his ears and held his breath until he felt faint. Then, he listened to the steps coming towards him.

David fought with himself until he decided to look. Decide that he was still alive. He opened his eyes and began to analyze the strange white toes, small and delicate, wiggling before him. Curious, he reached out to touch the small feet, brushing his hand across cotton Pokemon pajama bottoms.

The Dead Book

The first time I foresaw someone’s death was in 30022. It was my Grandpa Bennett’s death and I didn’t know the exact date, but knew when. I foresaw the exact celestial events that aligned themselves. I saw my life and his life and their lives converging like an intersection on a brick road out in the vast plains of Talunda. And when our lives came together, I knew he’d soon depart.

When I got word from my family he was gone, I recalled my premonition, and its curse etched death into my skin like thick black ink. There was a sense of relief it had finally come to pass. And as my family mourned, I found myself a little more at ease. I read at his funeral. I tossed the golden wheat into the fire that spewed up his remains into a billowing cloud of smoke. And life continued.

The next time someone died in my immediate circle, I was a little better at knowing. I bought a leather bound book and wrote his name at the top of its blank page. Then waited for time to pass. Waiting is the hardest part. Sometimes I think it’s a curse to know. But when I got the call he had suddenly died in a crash with his new Mazura 500, I have to say I felt a little relieved. I wrote the date of his death next to his name and consoled my suffering friends.

Thirteen names were written in the pages of the Dead Book over the years and thirteen dates of their unfortunate deaths were penned solemnly beside them. Over the years, I faced each event more confidently as fate unfolded itself inevitably and assuredly. And so it went like this and many years passed. And my talent focused to a small point, so even as I walked through life, I could see death written on each stranger as easily as the color of their skin. Until I was not more than seventy-eight and looking back on the pages of my book. Pages filled with loved ones. Only one name to be written that never was. A name I dreaded but knew must one day be; my own.

I enclosed myself in the holy prayer room and lit a candle for each loved one I had lost. I focused my heart on the great energy that flowed through my body and asked if it could really be true. Then in the flickering light it became clear. Like a loud voice shouting in my ears. Like a feeling of knowing as sure as my existence. The voice said, “You have always had the power to wield death, Salina. Now in your hands is your own. It is only for you to believe and it will be done.”

The Stranger

The door whipped open and the stranger stepped into the pub as the sky screamed behind him. All some twenty of us stopped our conversations to look up at the two mysterious eyes peering out of his tattered head wrap as he stood by the open door. Heavy boots firmly rooted in a wide stance. The chill of the biting cold seeped into the pub like a disease gnawing at our bones while we winced in agony. I watched the snow settle on the floor. Then the stranger stepped out of the doorway leaving his black print on the wet wood and the door slammed shut.

The room stayed quiet. All of us staring at his strange brown eyes. That’s what gave him away. How we knew he wasn’t from these parts. He walked slowly up to the counter and peeled off his gloves. His hands were black as night and blistered and swollen from his journey. And the skin below his cuticle was starting to look charred. My stomach turned from the ugliness of him. From the nakedness of his flesh and the pain that was obvious.

He searched the thick layers of his wrap for something. Struggled to pull it out. Winced as he revealed a small woven pouch.

“Water,” was the only word he could muster.

The bartender looked him dead in the face. Put down a glass. We all waited silently for his answer.

“Where you from?”

The bartender put his paws down hard on the counter. His claws dug into the wood. He brought his face up close to the stranger and stared coldly into him.

The stranger took a breath. We all listened for his answer. Waited for him to say it. Turned our long ears up towards him so we wouldn’t miss it. Bristled our coarse fur and turned out our claws incase it was one. Sent a low rumble through the room as a warning.

The stranger stood tall. He readied himself to fight. Felt the floor beneath him move like water as he started to faint from fear mingled with exhaustion, but kept himself steady and strong anyway. Forced himself to keep alert and gave his answer.

“Earth.”

The Magic Trick

Sam places his hand lovingly on my shoulder, then whisks it away, tasseling my blonde curls.

“Hey Babe, you look beautiful.”

“Thanks Sam!”

“Look, there was something wrong with the box, so I borrowed an old one from my friend. I checked it out and it’s all good. It works exactly the same. Do you think you’ll be okay?”

“Sure Sam.”

“That’s a girl!”

I fix my hair and look over my body as he walks away. I’m only wearing a bikini with fishnet stockings and high heels and it’s cold behind stage. Normally, I get a coat to wear, but this gig is cheap. Only special treatment for Sam. The rest of us have to share an old dressing room with one measly bathroom that has rat traps laying around the toilet bowl. The rest of us are just pretty faces. But I think Sam’s the pretty face. Us girls are the ones who do the real work.

I can hear the audience rustling before the show. Then they get quiet and I know it’s about to begin. Now it’s only a waiting game. The other girls usher me to my position. Music starts playing and the stage manager gives me a thumbs up, so I flash him a smile. I walk on stage with the girls. Sam is juggling his blue rings. I ready myself to catch one and he tosses it at me. My position is set perfectly. My smile is set. Everything about me is perfectly polished and the audience thinks I’m a natural beauty. But reality is I’m completely staged and it actually hurts standing like this.

Finally, the trick is over. I walk off stage and wait for my next cue. It seems to take forever, but I’m not one to leave the back of the stage once the show begins. I like listening to the audience laugh. Like listening to Sam’s voice. I kind of like him. I think I would date him if we weren’t working together. But if we weren’t working together, I’d be nothing to him. Just another pretty face. And Sam wouldn’t settle down anyway.

The music dies down again and I listen for Sam’s voice. The stage manager is whispering something to my friend, Jenny. I get that jealous feeling, but try to shove it down and get my smile ready. Jenny walks onto the stage. I wait.

“And now for my beautiful assistant!”

That’s my cue. I walk on stage. Perfect smile again. Everything about my body is steady and gentle, but my heart is racing madly.

“In a moment, I’m going to ask my gorgeous assistant to climb into this box. As you can see, it is completely solid.”

Jenny and Suzanne are helping him roll the box around for the audience to look at while I stand waiting. My feet are getting sore standing in my heels. He gives me the cue to climb into the box. Now is the first time I’m really getting a look at the box. It’s a different color, metal plating on the outside, but that isn’t a concern to me. The real concern is on the inside. I climb into the box, large enough for me to lie on my side with my legs bent, and flash a smile at the audience. They get silent. I can’t see them beyond the hot stage lights, but I know they’re searching the stage for the trick. It’s up to me to make them believe.

Sam closes the box. I struggle to get the velvet covered trap door on the bottom open and push my legs under it like a sleeping bag. Take my first relieved breath while he talks to the captivate audience and push the rest of my upper body into a spandex side. I know Jenny is standing on the outside obstructing the view just encase someone is looking too carefully.

The audience rolls with a series of oo’s and awes. He opens the box as I hide and the loudest gasps come and music is still playing. Everyone is waiting. I’m waiting in my position with the other spandex wall against my face now. I can smell that it’s a bit mildewed. I can’t wait for him to shut the box again, so I can position myself back inside more comfortably.

“And wala!”

The audience gasps again. I’m not sure if I should wait any longer. Somehow the timing is off. I get that panicked feeling in my heart again. I press my hand on the spandex. I know Sam is looking for me.

I can feel them turn the box round again. This isn’t part of the plan. Jenny and Suzanne close up the box. The music has run out, but they aren’t beginning the next cue. I want to cry, but I’m still hopeful that the show isn’t lost. I just hope I don’t get fired over this.

“Okay,” Sam says to the audience. “It looks like our assistant might have really disappeared!”

Everyone laughs. He has a way to settle even me. I like him so much. I press my hand to try and remove the second wall but it seems to be stuck. They open the box up again, but it’s still empty. I can tell that the mood has changed. The stage manager isn’t sure what to do. The audience rustles in their seats uncomfortably. Sam looks inside the box now. I can feel the fear spreading in the room. I decide to reveal the secret. It’s done. The trick was messed up. I try to push hard on the wall. It seems to be stuck.

“Jenny,” Sam whispers. “She’s not in there.”

This time I start freaking out.

“Sam!” I say. “I’m here. Let me out!”

They don’t seem to hear me. My heart is racing. I can’t breathe. The spandex on my face is suffocating. I scream again.

“Sam!”

“Close the curtains,” he says.

The audience grows louder. Music begins playing again and a voice comes on the speaker to calm the audience down. I’m not listening to them though. I’m listening to the panicked voices of my friends gathered around me. They can’t seem to hear me. They can’t seem to see.

“Guys! I’m right here. I’m in here. Let me out. It’s stuck.”

No use. I can feel the box moving. Listen to their conversations. Other people come to look at the box. I can feel it move again.

“She’s not there,” someone concludes.

“Where did she go?”

“I don’t know, but I think we need to call the cops.”

“Call her house first. Call her cell. Maybe she left.”

I begin crying.

“I’m right here!”

My tears flow down my cheeks. I scream. I scream until my throat hurts. I cry until the spandex is sopping wet.

Hours later the stage is empty. There are only three voices now. I know the voice of Sam and the owner of the hall. The other is a cop.

“You say she just disappeared?” the cop questions. “Can you show me the box?”

I can feel the box moving. I begin to shout again at the top of my lungs. I beat my hands against the spandex. It’s moving, stretching. They should be able to see me. They don’t.

They all have a long conversation about me. I hate the smell of mildew. Then the conversation becomes distant. I want to scream even louder, but my voice has started to go. I lean my head against the fabric. I can hear the loud lights turning off. I can hear the stage doors closing and the voices disappearing leaving me alone, screaming in the dark.

NASA Official Statement

On August 29th, 2032 at precisely 22:16:43 EST, an unidentified object was detected in the Northeastern sky of Tampa, Florida and observed crossing the horizon towards the Northwest at a speed of 16,508 km/h. Witnesses of this event reported a series of unexplainable yellow lights that expanded and contracted for a period of approximately 12 minutes. The number of witnesses counted were 568. Within a twelve hour period after initial sighting, 112 people ranging in ages from 6 through 77, were selected for observation. Initial symptoms at onset included disorientation, nausea, and digestive issues. Persons observed demonstrated migraines and rash after seven hours. It is reported by the Florida Department of Health that within 24 hours of the sighting 1019 unexplained deaths occurred. Investigations by FBI, Florida Department of Health, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and NASA conclude that the events of August 29, 2032 are that of an acute plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis which mutated and has since failed to thrive. NASA and its affiliate organizations believe there is no cause for concern at this time and maintain the possibility of an alien presence is uncorroborated.

The Dream

When the dream came into existence. When it sprouted from the mind like a sprawling vine, unwinding from one small seed, one thought. No longer the whimsical fantasy placed in a secret place. Like on a dusty shelf, left to fade away as life envelopes us with its pertinence. When those furtive thoughts weaved themselves from the silky strands of emptiness floating in dimensions beyond harm’s reach. When they wound together, binding and glinting with consciousness. When they drew that first breath and stretched and flexed and became strong. The dream became real to him, settled in the pit of his stomach like a heavy brick, and he unwrapped his hands from her flaccid throat.

Red Roses, Red Roses

Sandy dug her toes into the damp soil of her garden as she bent towards her largest rose. The cool mud mushed between her bare toes and stuck there, heavy and wet. She liked the feel of the earth below her feet and thought it made the day a little more perfect, and the rose a little more special as she reached for its soft edge, gently lifting the rose up towards her nose.

Red roses didn’t have the most fragrant smell, but their smell was still distinct and beautiful. To her, it represented an accomplishment of having cared for her garden all year long. It reminded her of her family and that the most beautiful things in life are often the most simple and overlooked.

The light changed. She turned her neck to see if it was an afternoon storm cloud rolling in. She thought she could hear the crack of thunder and smell something peculiar in the air, like burnt BBQ or a wild fire starting up on the distant hill. She wasn’t sure how to place the smell, it came so quickly. Too hard to classify or make sense of. And then there was darkness as the asteroid struck down hard on her, releasing a shock wave a mile in diameter, melting poor Sandy and all her roses.

Level 2G

Melinda got out of her beige sedan and pressed the remote button, sending a sharp high-pitched beep echoing through the half empty garage. Then, she turned to her friend Debbie.

“After we go to Macy’s, wanna go to Coldstone?”

“Sure,” Debbie replied, fixing her purse strap over her shoulder. “Remember where we parked.”

The underground parking lot had an empty yellow glow to it. Cement pillars formed rows along the cool structure and white lines were painted to signify each spot. A few cars were scattered throughout the garage and that was that. Not a person stirred other than Melinda and Debbie and not a sound rattled other than their own footsteps.

They walked to the elevator and Melinda took a mental note of the blue painted sign that read, LEVEL 2G. Several hours later with parking validation in hand and a stomach full of Mint Chocolate Chip, Melinda and Debbie made their way back down to their car.

When the elevator reached the floor, it gave off a light ping and the doors opened, but to Melinda, something seemed different.

“Did you notice a fence before?” she asked.

“Are we on the right level?”

“2G.”

They both looked around confused. There were a great many more cars and some were caged off within another locked fence.

“I don’t think this is our level.”

“I remember, 2G.”

Debbie walked back towards the elevator and called it down again. For a moment her heart panicked as she waited, wondering if it would come, but then the door opened and Debbie felt relieved.

“Where are you going?” asked Melinda.

“This isn’t our level,” Debbie replied, getting into the elevator.

Melinda followed her friend and Debbie pressed the button for 2G, but the elevator only closed and opened its doors in place. So, Debbie pressed the button to go back up to Level 1. The doors closed.

They stood their for a few moments waiting.

Nothing.

Melinda looked at Debbie. They read the fear in each others eyes.

“Did you press the button?”

“You saw me press the button!”

She began pressing all the buttons frantically, trying to keep her heart steady, when the elevator began to move.

“What did you press?”

“I don’t know. All of them. I just want out of here!”

The elevator opened and Debbie jumped out.

“At least it’s some place different,” she said, whisking her long brown hair away from her eyes.

“Debbie…”

Debbie didn’t pay any attention to her friend. Just kept walking, looking for their car.

“Debbie…”

“What?”

She turned around.

Painted in blue was written plainly, Level 2G.

Melinda let out a worried moan.

“Help us!” she yelled and started jogging through the aisles of cars.

“There’s no one around.”

They both searched up and down the aisles frantically, the yellow glow of the garage lights fading and blurring. Cars sparkling with that dreamy quality of night.

Melinda could feel tears welling up in her eyes as she turned back to her friend.

“Try the stairs,” she said.

She couldn’t tell if it was her panic or if it was really happening, but it seemed like the parking lot had become a maze, and she wasn’t sure anymore if it was slanting up or down or staying level. Or if they were still on 2G or if they were making any progress walking towards the far end of the parking garage. And the eery silence made her even more uneasy. And the cold that oozed from the cement made her feel a chill that tickled her arms and raised the little hairs on the top of her head.

Suddenly, there was the sound of footsteps walking.

They stopped happily, both with the same idea as they turned around.

“Finally someone to ask for help!” Debbie exclaimed.

But Melinda had not spoken. Instead she stood eyes wide, jaw dropped. Debbie stared at her friend’s pale face in horror. She knew by her expression that it was something horrible. She almost didn’t look, but the curious urge took over her almost instinctively, and before she knew it she had turned as well.

Debbie and Melinda stared at their spitting image and the copies stared back at them with the same terror in their own eyes.

Melinda tried to muster up words, but at first try the breath only came out and she forgot to speak. She calmed herself and forced herself to ask, “Where are you from?”

The second Melinda and Debbie walked slowly towards them. The second Melinda came up close to the first, almost so that they touched, although neither of them dared.

“2G,” the copy said, quietly.

And then they all knew. And the pit of their stomachs got that hard knot of knowing. And their heads panged with that piercing pain of knowing. All at the same time they knew. And the elevator chimed.

Kites

 

Some loves are lost,

 Like kites in the wind.

You see colors fading,

And know it will end.

You pull the string tighter,

 But still it unwinds.

You try to hold on,

But the wind is unkind.

The kite bends,

And tail streamers swirl.

It circles around,

In a perilous twirl.

You hold the line tight,

Yet it comes to its end,

The kite becomes heavy,

And starts to descend.

So you let it loose.

Letting go felt so natural.

It was what the wind wanted.

The idea seemed admirable.

The kite tumbles downhill,

Slamming against dirt and grass,

Cracking at the spine.

You run to it,

Your hair trailing behind.

Is it still beautiful?

Will it fly?

Can it ever be what once was?

When you find it,

The kite is mangled.

Love is lost,

 Broken,

Pieces that fit poorly in the trash.

So you call it a friendship,

And refrain from all that was.

Passion, color, beauty, love.

All the things that come with that simple memory

of flight.