Friday, October 11, 2013


Elias stood on the balcony, propping himself up on the stone-carved handrail. With his wan constitution, it wasn’t often that he was able to enjoy such days.
            Far below, in the surrounding town, he could hear the sounds of children running around and playing. The sounds grew louder as the children rounded the corner, approaching the loft where he dwelt.
            Part of him was filled with a sad sort of jealousy, part of him with warm inspiration. While deprived of experiencing such revelry himself, it honestly did his heart good to see others enjoying a day such as this. In Elias’ own world of doctors and nurses and lawyers and councilors and tutors and advisors and countless other adults in all manner of uncomfortable formal attire, this scene was like gazing through a telescope at some distant celestial body.
            One of the children had a bubble pipe and produce small ephemeral sphere for the others to chase and scamper around. By chance, an errant orb drifted away from the rest, weaving and meandering its  way upwards only to settle itself on the railing next to where Elias stood.
            He gazed at it, admiring the swirling myriad of purples and yellows and greens and blues—and then it was gone. Pretty and elegant in it’s delicate, fleeting existence, it reminded him of himself.
            As if on cue, his nursemaid had returned, yelling that ‘a young master with a constitution such as his would catch a death of cold being outside like that’ or some other admonishment he had heard dozen of times before.
            If she only knew how dead he already was inside.
            With slightly less that his average apathy, he returned to his world of doctors and nurses and lawyers and councilors and tutors and advisors and countless other adults in all manner of uncomfortable formal attire.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


After so many hours awake, even the most potent pot of Joe doesn’t do the deed anymore. Abigail found herself quickly reaching that point. She had been poring over several small idols which had been brought in recently. They appeared to have vague connections to the Rapa Nui, Maori, or some other Polynesian group. Her examinations so far had proved inconclusive.
            As the weariness wore on, Abigail went to reach for her mug. In her tired state, her coordination failed her and she caught her hand on a spear one of the small figures was holding. Made from carved obsidian, the point easily tore both her gloves and her flesh. A fresh surge of adrenaline brought her awake.
            Before she could react further, the idol, covered in her fresh blood, glowed brightly. An instant later her entire world whirled, a myriad of colors and textures.
            Except, for a dark spot far off in front of her, slightly to her left. As if compelled by some force, Abigail made her way there, her world still motley and indistinct. As she approached the figure, she saw it was humanoid, lying down in the fetal position. As she crouched down to touch it, the colors left.
            She was somehow in a janitorial closet, a dead homeless person lying in front of her.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Situated in a vast sand ocean many thousands of leagues from either the farm girl or the princess, it seemed blasphemously angular and dark amid the flowing, pale sand. Rising up several hundred feet, it was as menacing as it was impregnable. Composed of a bizarre cyclopean construction from an odd, dark-colored stone, it might as well have been a conjuration of fairy magic or a construction of demonic forces. The tower bore no visible entrance nor any identifying insignia. Only seemingly random small windows gave any indication that the structure might be inhabited by beings of this world. Even more surprising was that the beings were actually humans.
A piece of moldy bread and some gruel—more than a feast for the plump rat skulking nearby—was the latest in a long line of neglected prison meals. The guards still had no idea how “it” was still alive. The lump of degenerated humanity dressed only in filthy, waist-length hair mats never moved under its own volition. It never resisted, nor made a noise—even during weekly inquisitor lashings. The leaky bucket-cum-chamber pot was as empty on this day as it was the first day. This was the constant state of the cell.
Except on the nights of the full moon.
On those nights it would stand and stare up at the lone cell window. It would focus on that lone silvery glowing spot. When the moon finished its voyage across the dark gulf of the sky and sank below the horizon the prisoner would once again become a lump of flesh on the floor.
Most of the guards had no idea how long things had been this way nor were they curious to find out. When an entire prison consisted of over two hundred guards and only one prisoner even a fool should have known there were special circumstances. Anyone who asked questions or chatted idly about the prisoner was wordlessly executed by one of the warden’s dozen elite guards. The regulars’ only standing order was to report immediately to the warden if the prisoner spoke. That would turn out to be a dire mistake for the warden
Perhaps it was due to the lack of light in the cell. Perhaps it was due to inattentiveness of the guards. Perhaps it was due to a face half covered in dirty, matted hair. Perhaps it was even the lack of information they received concerning their charge. Whatever the reason, none of the guards noticed the change in the prisoner. While she did not speak, nor make any other sound, she instead did something the warden would be equally interested about. It had only been briefly, it had only been slightly, but for a few moments the prisoner had been smiling.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


***Trigger warning: Before you read this, know that this story was partly inspired by 
Edwin Emmanuel Bradford The basis for my stories is randomly generated, so they aren't always pleasant.

Emile felt the sweat still soaking his entire shirt. The dream had come to him again, and again, it left him exhausted.
            For what seemed like countless nights, his sleep was interrupted by the same horrific, nightmare. He had had these same dreams, once long ago, but they had gone away. For some reason, they now returned.

            He lay there in bed, resting comfortable on his clean linens, when it came.
            It didn’t have a face, it barely had a shape. It was human, Emile suspected, or at least close enough to one.
            The thing would come for him, and do . . . things.

            Tears welled up as the torturous memories came flooding to him, of recalling the utter revulsion the thing produced within him. It was an instinctual, something seeded deep within himself.
            It couldn’t be human—nothing could do such things and still call itself human. Emile could feel his own heart racing, his chest heaving. Mustering what strength he could, he made his way out of the bunk room, through the large antique doors, and finally outside.
            Fresh wetness from a passing squall covered the ground, leaving small puddles to reflect the moon.
            Emile looked up at the large, glowing orb. Small clouds from his own breath came and went as fast as they were formed.
            It relaxed him though, made him feel at ease. It was quite the opposite of how the thing made him felt. Staring upwards, he lost himself, and his surroundings.
            He never heard the approaching footsteps behind him.
            A familiar hand placed itself on his shoulder.
            “Welcome back, my child,” the owner of the voice said to Emile. “I’m glad you decided to return to study here after being away for so many years.”
            As the instinctual revulsion welled up inside of him, Emile dropped to his knees, crying in that abhorrent moment of clarity that was now upon him.

Monday, October 7, 2013


The cries of seagulls roused Sylvia awake. Despite being pasted almost shut, she forced her eyelids open, tearing at eyelashes as she did so, regretting instantly her decision to do so. Despite its lower angle in the sky, the sun still beat down harshly on the open sea. Additional shorebird cries roused her further.
            A sudden epiphany roused her fully—birds meant land.
             Mustering what little strength she had left in her dehydrated and starved state, Sylvia rolled over in the life boat. Despite the blisters covering her hands and sunburn on the rest of her flesh, she managed to pull herself up onto the edge of the large inflatable life raft. As she had concluded, she was drifting towards a small island.
            Somewhere, deep down inside, she managed to draw upon a yet unknown reserve of strength and will. With this, she managed to reach down into the water, meekly propelling herself towards the shoreline.
            After a torturous infinity, she managed to make it to the shoreline. Looking back, she saw the sun was quite low in the sky. Realizing how little daylight she had left, Sylvia forced herself out of the boat and onto the sandy beach.
            Lacking the strength to stand fully upright, she managed to slowly crawl her way to the edge far edge of the beach where the vegetation started. Bunking her head against a palm tree, she half-flopped, half-rolled over into a sitting position up against it.
            Sylvia, despite all her fatigue, all her pains, couldn’t help but feel anything but gratitude for finally finding land. As far as she knew, she had been the only survivor of the plane crash. All of the passengers, including the pilot of the small sea plane, had been researchers traveling to the mid-Atlantic in search of a reportedly new species of aeonium.
            A group of Portuguese sailors had brought back a single plant and several harvested samples, claiming that it had medicinal properties. Initial testing had indicated that certain essential oils it contained could have drastic effects in the restoration damaged ocular cells, but the only living sample had unfortunately been lost due to a lab accident.
            Too tired to keep her head up, Sylvia let it fall to the side, the rest of her torso following.
            And then she started laughing uncontrollably.
            There, a mere few inches from her face, growing on the cusp of the vegetation line, was aeonium she had been seeking.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Joseph had always considered himself a good soldier. Not a great one, mind you, but the kind of soldier who always met expectations and never disappointed—reliable to a fault. Fraternization, therefore, was something completely alien to him, both in concept and in practice. He understood the word in the dictionary sense, and he most definitely understood the repercussions of committing such an offense, but it would have never even occurred to him to commit such a seditious act willfully.
            Then again, when Joseph had enlisted in the army five years ago, he would have never thought himself to be in the situation he now found himself in.
            This small café, in the southwestern part of France, in the storied region called Aquitaine, was like nowhere he ever expected to be. Despite the war having been over for several months, there was still a strong military presence throughout most of the country. Having traveled through several regions, Joseph had seen towns in various degrees of destruction and degradation. Some were no more than piles of rubble, while others had received only minimal damage.
            The small village where Joseph now found himself was not quite unique, but it was most definitely a rare exception. The war had left the entire municipality untouched. According to some locals, the Germans had never even once set foot there. By his own estimation, Joseph got the distinct impression that his platoon had been the first visitors to the villages in a very long time.
            The café, across the street from the only inn in town, also happened to be the only eatery. After several days, they G.I.’s had quickly acclimated to this rural hamlet’s way of life.
            Joseph suspected that Sophia had played no small part in this adjustment. Although he had never asked, he had assumed that she was in her early twenty’s like himself.
            He had thought, several times now, that spending the rest of his days with a girl like Sophia could be quite the idyllic dream.
            And then, before they knew it, their tenure was up. Word had arrived that they were expected in another hamlet.
            That brought him to where he stood that day.
            It was mid afternoon, the time right after lunch yet still well before supper. The café was empty except just the tow of them. Joseph started and stopped several times, trying each to find the exact words to confess how he felt, but the words eluded his best efforts to hunt for them.
            Finally, she walked up to him, placing a single, slender finger on his lips. While he stood there, dazed, she turned away and went into the back where the kitchen was. A moment later she returned, a small leather-bound tome in her right hand, a peach in her left. She approached him, holding out both for him to accept.
            Unsure, he took the peach and put it into the cargo pocket of his pants. Joseph then took the book and opened it. Seeing the series of dates and short passages, he quickly realized that it was a journal. Still silent, she motioned for him to sit.
            After watching him take a place at one of the handful of tables, Sophia quickly disappeared once again, this time to return with a pen and inkwell. He immediately understood. Without a word, he took both, bowing in gratitude. Faster than he thought possible, he jotted down the overflowing emotions that now filled him. Relief couldn’t begin to describe the feeling of releasing the flood of emotions on to the rough paper.
            Once he had finished, he looked finally looked up, but she was nowhere to be seen.
            Joseph sat for what seemed like an eternity. He was about to inspect the back room for her, when suddenly his squad leader called form outside.
            There was no more time. He thought it might be better this way.
            Within a few minutes, the small troop of soldiers was assembled and making their way out of town. They exited via the road heading east out of town. Just as the were cresting the small hill just outside of town, Joseph suddenly remembered the peach in his pocket. He fished it out and looked at it. It looked almost flawless. He stopped suddenly in the middle of the road, half his squad mates almost running into him. Amidst their yelling he glanced back to look at the village. What he saw immediately broke him into a cold sweat and made him weak in the knees. As the other soldiers turned to look, he thought he heard one whisper ‘mother of God’ or something like that.
            The only thing he could focus on was the cluster of bombed-out buildings which occupied the same space where the village had been. No one spoke nor made any further sounds.
            Unconsciously, Joseph’s arms went limp and he dropped the peach. Without thinking further, he immediately broke into a sprint, heading for where the café had been.
             Initially, he thought it still remained untouched. As he crossed the threshold, the light pouring through the large hole in the ceiling showed him otherwise. Nervously, he made his way towards the backroom. Pushing past the remnants of the beaded curtain that separated the room from the rest of the café, he instinctively held his breath. The sigh he immediately let out was long and deep.
            There, lying on a small bed in the corner, was the desiccated remains of what was once a young girl. Likely close to his own age, he was sure. Clutched against her chest was a small leather bound tome.
            Joseph went to reach for it, then stopped. Something told him he was better off not opening that tome.
            Just outside of town, about half way up the hill on the eastern side, a perfect peach sat just off the road from the place it been dropped.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Giovanni had reached a point of audacious desperation. He didn’t merely want his latest effort to succeed, he needed successful results. Failure could, quite literately, mean the end of him. Saying he was willing to try anything wasn’t sufficient—he was willing to try everything.
His venture as a farm worker was short lived. How was he supposed to know which fields the livestock were and were not allowed to graze in?
Giovanni’s attempt at construction faired little better. Did it really matter if he used the metric or standard side of the tape measure?
When he had tried to integrate himself into the ‘white collar’ world, the results weren’t much different. He understood the IRS, but he couldn’t understand why the bank manager seemed so upset about Giovanni’s actions having ‘possible repercussions with both the FTC and SEC.’
He didn’t even want to think about what happened to that poor model in his one and only attempt being a photographer. He wondered how well those skin grafts had worked out.
This time, he knew it would be different. Of all the things he had tried in his life, nothing had excited him, nor engaged him, as much as the culinary arts, and more specifically baking. He truly felt this was his calling.
Having recently acquired his grandmothers collection of recipes, he improved and honed them to a razor’s edge. Giovanni had been especially proud of his latest creation. He had taken his nona’s classic amaretti cookies and, in his opinion, greatly improved upon them. He had even found a business partner willing to help him market them. Even this morning he had made a last minute adjustment, deciding to make as much as he could from scratch.

It was until several days later, alerted by complaints of the smell by neighbors, that the bodies of Giovanni and his partner were found. According to the autopsy, the amaretti the men had ingested had cyanide levels high enough to kill a bull elephant. Further investigation revealed the source to be a failed attempt at creating homemade almond extract.

The return

In short: I'm at it again.

I'm hoping this time I make it AT least past Thanksgiving. I think if I can keep the stories going that long, maybe I'll make it to Christmas, and then . . .

That's a long way off though, and who knows how long I'll be able to keep pumping out stories this time. Regardless, my mind is made up, so here we go again.