Short Stories

The Star of the Sea

Cathedral walls began to buckle and writhe as Gargoyles roused from a centurion of static slumber. No one had dared give in to magic within Ireland for a very, very long time. Especially fairy magic. Iron groans shuddered through each structure, starting in Dublin like a domino effect; spreading to the rest of the country. An unseen barrier seemed to cascade around the country; unknown to its citizens. Except, for a very small minute group of people. Some intertwined with one another, others on their own.
Like one little girl in County Galway found out; Maria.

Six year old Maria found herself on that misty Sunday morning trailing a long stick against the grains of the sand, up and down the beach. She was with her family of course, but like always she was too caught up in her surroundings; nature, to remember she wasn’t alone. She was humming to herself, not anything in particular but she kept herself at an odd tune. She was waiting for the seagulls. Maria loved those silly birds, they made such funny squawks that she couldn’t not laugh. She would bend over in fits of giggles and her mother would always disapprove. She looked up through her fringe to the sky once more and pouted, not one bird, not even a regular bird. Normally there’d at least be one sculling around on an open rock somewhere yelling for food.
“Maria!” It was her mother calling her, Maria whipped around towards the voice, wow she had made quite a distance down the beach!
“Coming!” She yelled back and let loose her little legs across the hard sand. It was snack time.

Maria was sucking and munching on both a soggy cheese string and a bread roll, she was going back and forward between the two. Her younger brother had finished his and was sitting on the cold ground, scrunching and un-scrunching sand in-between his fingers. Her mother and father were discussing the lack of birds too to the delight of Maria.
“I don’t know, it just seems very odd, don’t you think? Even now there should be at least one pecking around and demanding scraps.” Her mother insisted. Her father shrugged, “I don’t think we should think into it that much. It’s probably going to rain soon…” He turned his head to look at the grey ocean, blurring with the sky. “You know they fly more inland when that happens, right?”
Maria’s mother’s face twinged in concentration and nodded her head as she took a swig from her water bottle; “You’re probably right.” Maria brightened as this information, “do you think they’re at our house?” Both her parents seemed to forget that their daughter was listening to their conversation; “Who’ll be at the house?” Her mother gouged for information.
“The seagulls of course!” Maria clapped her hands with her food still fully grasped in them, mashing them together even more, her father cringed. Her mother frowned and was about to say, “no, don’t be silly.” When her father cut across her with, “perhaps Maria! Maybe they know that you’re a big fan of them.” Her father smiled down warmly at his daughter. Maria beamed back at him and asked; “can I go see if I can find any again?” She expressed excitedly. Her father gave a quick look to his wife and back down to Maria, sighing he said; “yes, but you have to finish your snack first.” Maria grinned and shoved her food into her mouth and gulped it down, when she swallowed she opened her mouth and shouted; “all gone!” Before her parents got to say anything she got up and ran back down the beach with her disjointed stick.

Maria had made a few patterns in the sand with her wand, hoping to get the attention of her favourite animal, but it didn’t give her much luck as none had yet shown. The breeze had picked up, tangling her brown hair around her cheeks and the mist could easily be mistaken for light rain. Maria looked back towards her family;Maria’s brother, Ciaran was happily sat making sandcastles with his father and her mother was still sitting on the bench where they had eaten, cigarette in hand; returning her gaze. She had been keeping an eye on Maria the whole time, just in case she got the idea to run into the sea fully clothed, like she had done a few Sundays ago. Maria was still a ways down the beach so she decided to start skipping back towards them, while she was about halfway down a:

Whoosh
Sailed over her, rushing her hair all about. Maria looked up, excited hoping to see her birds. When she looked up though she couldn’t tell what she was seeing. Dark, moving, angry clouds seemed to dart across the sky, coming straight towards her. Maria blinked, she could hear her precious squawking waving through the sky but it was mixed with something else, a faint buzzing. A deep reverberating hum that likened that of an angry hornets nest.

ZOOM

Zoom

Zoom

One seagull, two seagulls, three, dozens dashed past Maria; a tornado of birds. Maria screamed in confused delight and jumped with her hands out trying to touch one of the birds. She was greeted with several angry pecks and one webbed foot got tangled up in her hair. Maria squealed in surprise and pulled at her hair, the seagull flapped and flapped until he eventually got loose, in doing so it threw Maria to the ground.
She could hear her mother screaming her name.
Maria turned, she was lying on the sand now looking up; there was no sky. It was then she realised that the thing that had grabbed her hair was not a seagull. In fact, it was not a bird at all. Maria stared up in shock as a malevolent creature hulked over her it’s face was carved out in jagged stone edges, beady eyes peered down at her. Was it smirking? Marble wings thrashed the sand up in coarse wisps, scratching at Maria’s face.
Another scream filled the air with Maria’s name. How long had she been lying there? The beady eyes jumped to Maria’s hand and it pounced.

One second Maria was sinking into granules of glass, the next;
she was flying.
Soaring through the sky.
Maria gasped, trying to catch a breath. She didn’t know if the she was up or down, she was being flung about. Then her head snapped down, her lungs were trying to escape through her throat. A hideous shriek bounced off her eardrums, her hand felt like it was being squeezed off, intense pain shook through her arm. She didn’t even have air to scream. The creature was…flying away with her? It reminded Maria of the horrible flying monkeys that helped the Wicked Witch of the West in the The Wizard of Oz. Suddenly then, there was another ear wrenching squeal from its open caved in mouth, it was in pain…
Again, Maria was sent flying;

SPLASH

No air was replaced with salted water, attacking Maria’s nose and mouth; invading her lungs. In desperation and with instinct attached, Maria’s hands shot up and began splashing to bring herself back up to the surface; she could tell she wasn’t in that deep but she was still only little. She kicked her little legs and panic seemed to erupt all over her, sending ripples of waves further and further out to sea. Thankfully she wasn’t in peril for long, as she bobbed up and down she could see her dad running in after her. He scooped her up easily as the water only came to his waist. He cradled her to his chest as he made his way back to land. The sea, tears and snot became one; painting across her face. She hiccuped nonsense. Once her father had reached the shore, he carefully placed her down on the sand, her mother was waiting for them; shaking and tears streaming.
“Oh-oh, thank goodness!Maria!”Her trembling hands moved away from her face an cupped that of her child; “this is why I don’t like those awful birds! You never know what they might do.”Her mother cried. Maria wiped her face of her hands and scrunched up her face, already over her scenario. “What are you talking about mam? That wasn’t a seagull, that was a monster!”
Her mother frowned at her and nodded, “yes it was, they’re awful creatures.”
It was her dad then that asked; “what do you mean monster?” Maria shook her head vigorously, “It was a flying monkey! The witch nearly got me!”
Maria’s mother looked to her husband, her eyebrows raised, he just shrugged in return.
“Right…yes, and we saved you! Maybe, we should take a break from the Sunday beach trips.” He sighed aloud, not particularly at Maria but airing his judgment, his wife agreed hurriedly.Maria stomped her wet bootie and crossed her arms; “that’s not fair! I want to see my birdies!” She yelled. Her parents glanced at one another, her dad began first; “Maria, but the birds…just harmed you.” Maria’s face began to grow red and twisted as she began shouting; “it wasn’t them, it wasn’t them, it wasn’t them! They were running away too!”
Her mother grabbed hold of her hand gently and began ushering her towards their car; “we’ll see how things are next week…”

Maria puffed and huffed, her face was inflating so round that it could be perhaps popped with a pin. She threw her head back, but she knew that know matter how many tantrums she threw, her situation with her parents would not change. So she settled with the silent treatment. She looked back at the horizon, watching the chase continue and a sparkle caught her eye, she followed it for a moment and she could have sworn that she saw a wink of a wing. She didn’t know why but in that moment an emotion came over her that she was not too familiar with; dread.
Six-year old Maria knew then that something had changed in the world, magic was real and alive.

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Our Fairytale

Scratches, I had to scratch and scratch to end the frustration. Anger, annoyance, irritation all combined into this hunger that was so overcoming that all I could do was lash out. Lash out at myself. I lifted my hands from my face to see the damage. Red lines scoured through my skin.

Self hatred is an art.

An art to be able to act, to smile, to dance.
But we don’t realise that we can’t hide it from Love.
Love is our downfall because if we can’t love ourselves, can we really fully give ourselves to someone else?

It can be done. Can it? No. Maybe?
Possibly. Through tears. Painful punches through the chest, spinning our heads as if we were on a rollercoaster. Hair flying, hands in the air. Arguing. We don’t know why.

Communication,

is not our art.
We have too many emotions, to pin own. Too many unseen tricks that we think are aimed at us but really they are as real as Wonderland.
Hating.

Lashing out.

This is what we do best. You think we’re the opposite. That we strut for attention but all it is is for validation.

That’s why we were doomed to fail. Wasn’t it? You knew, you warned me of the danger but I didn’t listen; I was a dreamer.
Our relationship was, is like a fairytale without a happy ending, but I don’t care. I like the way it is, how we are now the way we are in-between. Not anything, but something. That’s the way our fairytale is. Static, non-existent in a book but we’re stuck written in the drafts. But of course, I do care don’t I? I’m stuck in too minds; addicted to you, knowing that my energy is wasted, unable to…

I stroke my foundation on, painting over my mess, my embarrassing mess.
I’m unable to…move on. Even though that’s all I want to do. I can’t, because you’re my addiction. I puffed on powder and I sneeze.
Sneeze

Sneeze

Sneeze.
A cloud blows around my face and I stare back at the stranger. Her bright red highlighter still crisscrossing a map to her crazy.
Our fairytale doesn’t make sense to strangers or to friends or even to myself when I try and explain. Their solution is pretty simple but it isn’t that simple. It never was, never will be, I had to beg and retract and laugh and retract and more importantly wish it had never happened and retract that. Because even though the bond seems unbreakable, every day pummels me that little bit more. Every day makes you wonder, why are they good enough but not me?
I smooth on the brown eyeshadow, the colour popping my blue eyes. The feature I used to hate but now love, that was rare, coming up from someone that loved to hate. It wasn’t that I chose to, hate that is but it was the way I was forced to mentally think. The way I learned. I methodically brushed mascara onto my eyelashes and finished the look with a nude lipstick. I smooshed my lips together, forcing the colour to even. I stared into my eyes; lips trembling, smiling, tears brimming. Choking in the throat. Unsure of what set me off this time. I knew I shouldn’t have dwelt on you.

I steadied myself, ready to get to my feet from my sitting position on the ground in front of my mirror. A habit of mine was gripping the edge of the mirror for balance, so much so that there was makeup smears all over the right side of the glass. Each time I would tell myself that I would clean it later, but later rarely came. As I stood I stared at my bedroom door, an overwhelming sense of dread erupted though my very being. My phone had been on and off buzzing with consistent messages for the past forty minutes. I wanted to go didn’t I? I was so excited yesterday. Why wasn’t I moving towards the door? Murmurs droned in and out beneath me, reminding me of the family that occupied the house along side me. I took a breath and looked towards my phone, it was lit up with bubbles of words synched up one after the other. More, more, one more. There was so many messages, the thought crushed my lungs. My mouth opened slightly, trying to relieve myself, but cramps scattered throughout my body, clamping me down as a hostage. A bell shocked through the room, the phone was becoming more and more aggressive.

Look at me.
It said.

LOOK AT ME

It screamed.
I just stood over it as it begged to be brought to my ear. The charging wire wiggled, having a temper tantrum. Then, it stopped. I unplugged it and sat on my bed. My eyes stopped focusing again. I scrolled and scrolled and it seemed like I was in a simulation because the messages did not cease.

Are you coming?

Are you coming? ?         ?
?
?

ARE YOU COMING?

Are.

YOU.

Coming?

“No”, I whispered at no one in particular but at everyone.
And then I see your message, Are you coming out? And, of course it means more to me, my heart jerks and quivers in confusion; that traitor. Another shaky breath. Why am in such a hold like this.

Just. Go. Out.
I hear a yell and I’m shattered back to Earth.
“Are you not supposed to be gone already?”
“Yes.” I reply
“Are you not going anymore?”
Pause.
“No.” I admit. Makeup done and dressed. Embarrassed.
“Why not? You’re all ready, just go.”
Pause.
“I can’t.”
“’Course you can, the buses are still running.”
Pause…“I can’t.” Choking, constricting, my lungs have turned into snakes, turning against me. Was living always this hard? How do you explain the thought of walking outside the front door feels like I’m walking willingly into a black hole. Made to feel weightless, not in control…no senses. No senses but yet your senses are heightened, your skin burns and tingles, shockwaves emitting from you. You hear too loud, you cant speak. You cant feel. Your chest feel tight and empty. If it’s not tight and empty it’s panging with too much emotion. Too much emotion too control. You’re a broke human being, accidentally glitching between factory settings and on overload.
Silence.

You swallow. And none of this is said. Instead it’s filled in with tears and hiccups, heaving out of your skeleton. You’re comforted. But…wait?
I’m…you’re shoved into the black hole anyway, the nova, the nebula sucking back the stars you were made out out of. I’m floating through traffic coloured lights, my hair floating dizzyingly, misted rain cools down my skin. I didn’t know where I was going. I was…just going to wander.
I couldn’t face.
Couldn’t face you. Them.
Being stood up.
I was meant to have left my house hours ago? Hours yeah… meeting them after.
But I was stood up.

Ghosted.

That’s the thing. When I try to change our story, my story, our fairytale. I’m stopped. Why am I never good enough? How do boys find girls, how do girls find boys,
how do boys find boys…. And how do girls find girls…?? ?
?
Everyone else seems to get their happy ending. Am I cursed? Have we both been cursed? Why can’t you see what I see?

If I was to go to the local after, I’d have to explain. I’d have to explain yet again, that I was stood up. I’d have to explain to you, that I was stood up. But what I want to say is that I wouldn’t care if I was stood up five hundred-

A stranger was looking strangely at me now, his puffs of smoke tickled his furrowed brow as I passed. I could see in my peripheral that he twisted to stare-thousand times, if it meant that I could have you. That I’d still choose you. That I’d always choose you. But. You know that…that’s the thing. I don’t have to tell you any of what I just said, you know it already but you choose…to ignore it…I’m aware you do. And this is why I anger myself because even though you’ve shown multiple times that you care…I just don’t understand the logic to allow me the way I do with you. But yet…I do.
Hope.
Stupid, stupid hope. Hope being fed through songs, through film…through…fairytales.

I toe a puddle, the water dipping over my boots. I’m tranquil…as can be with a fever. I wish I could be rid of my entitlement or…perhaps convince an Evil Queen to rip my heart out.
My last thought had seemed fitting, as my eyes seemed to scan the swaying branches around me, I had wandered towards the local forest. I smiled giddily. I grinned giddily, circling through my mistily surroundings. A glitter sparkled in front of my eyes and all I could do was laugh. My mind went straight to fairytales. A fairy, floating glitter. I turned in circles again laughing at my superstitious mind,
“You can come out now!”
Silence.
“I have wishes needing to be granted…?”

Silence.
Or, was that tinkling sound?
“If you’re really a fairy you know what they are anyways.”
Leaves seemed to flicker, mocking me.

“I wish…I couldn’t feel anything anymore…or…I wish everyone was just matched off already, everybody deserves somebody…” I trailed off wistfully.

“Oh do they?” An unfamiliar voice seemed to float around me. My eyes widened, I stumbled upon my words but all that came out was; “what?”
“Do you deserve someone?” Again, the voice drifted through and around my ears. Flabbergasted, I couldn’t give a straight enough answer for what felt like five whole minutes. “I just want somebody to love me.”
“Plenty of people love you.”
“You know what I mean…”
“Doooo I?” A stream of glitter flirted right under my nose. I sneezed. I could see the makings of a tiny creature now…was this a fairy?
“Both sound good.”
“Both?” I asked.
“Both wishes, they were wishes weren’t they?” The creature persisted.
“Wishes…” I sounded the word out slowly, “I suppose they were wishes but-”

“Well then,” A puff of blue sparkles erupted in front of my vision; blinding me.

“As you wish, Lani.”

Short Stories

The Guardian

 

Warm. Soft blankets enveloping the skin; there’s nothing more delightful than being cosily bundled up in bed, paralyzing the body. Although sometimes it can’t comfort everyone.

Huff after huff of silent cries, heaving into his sopping pillow; it was the fourth time that week that Charlie was crying himself to sleep. Like a switch, the second he hit his pillow it occurred. Talking, flashing images…moments, all echoed through his mind while his body ached for sleep. He couldn’t understand why, his life wasn’t perfect, yes but there was nothing that was solely keeping him up at night. It was like it was a mixture of everything…but nothing, like a black hole had suddenly opened from within side him; emptying his contents.
Charlie twisted onto his side, his blankets strangled around him, holding him down like an angry python. He kicked out and sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. Everywhere ached. He was facing his window now, his eyes glanced up at the glass. An orange glow tinged the sky line, the sun was only beginning to set, he was trying to get to bed as early as possible to try and relieve the hold his body was under.

A flutter caught his attention against the pane, Charlie lifted his head slightly to see the sight of black wings winking at him. A small butterfly was bouncing at the window as if asking to be let in. Without thinking, Charlie held his weight on one elbow while he reached up with his other hand and lifted the latch, and the butterfly floated in. Charlie fell back onto his back with a sigh and stretched his arm over his head, his eyes following the butterflies movements. It was dancing across to each wall and back.

Each night he would try to pin down a reason to why he felt like this and right then he realised what it was he felt.

He felt like he was mourning the loss of someone he loved. He knew that feeling all too well.
But that didn’t seem right, no one he knew had died recently…not that he knew of anyway…

He continued watching the butterfly as his thoughts tumbled through his mind. The little insect began to settle on his mirror, wings slowly flapping in content. The cold breeze from outside was beginning to effect his senses as it curved around his body; chilling him. Charlie pulled the covers up and around him but sneezed nonetheless, he was about to sneeze again when his eyes caught the mirror again, he could have sworn he saw a girl staring back at him.

Sneeze
Sneeze

Girl

Sneeze
Gone

Charlie lifted himself up in a panic, he could feel his face draining of blood and his eyelashes flicked rapidly off his cheeks. He threw back his duvet cover and plowed towards the mirror. The butterfly seemed to wink in response with its wings, it hadn’t moved from the position from where it had landed. He drew himself closer to the bug, slowly so he would not scare it. It’s colour was so deeply black that it almost seemed to glitter as it drained the light from the room. Although as Charlie was inspecting it a massive bang shuddered the whole house, vibrating off every wall. Someone not very nice was home. Charlie stepped back and cursed as he watched his specimen flutter hurriedly from the mirror and back out his bedroom window. He glanced at his bedroom door and paused in between thoughts, but settled to watch the butterfly fly into the now night sky. The frosty breeze lashed at his face, reminding him of the cold he was allowing in. His eyes had lost focus of the butterfly for a while now but he still seemed transfixed. Still looking out to the wild he pulled the latch in, just in time to hear a;

THUD

THUD

THUD

On the steps.

Charlie’s heart raced in fear as he dove back into his bed, yanking the covers up and over his head. Stilling every muscle in his body so hard that he felt tingles in his shoulders. Suddenly his door bounced of its hinges. A huff a puff and mumbles trailed the door. Charlie’s breath held in his chest fighting; trying to escape. The door creaked and sighed and opposed to the way it was opened and so it was quietly closed with a hush. Charlie was left to ‘sleep’.
* * *
* * * *

Scott Davidson didn’t know why he bought another bottle.
It was almost like it was routine now, machine like the way he maneuvered straight to the desired aisle. His tongue would tango and roll with saliva as he figured out his current craving; and grab the first brand that jumped out from the shelf. His left hand would droop down in shame at yet another purchase he said he wouldn’t take for this time. But he always did, that was the thing about addiction, wasn’t it? It grabbed you from the roots of your nerves and made you dance like a puppet, bending you to your knees so you had little control until you bit into the apple of desire. Red hooded eyes would look straight ahead, ignoring that he had purchased alcohol yet again. Ignoring that he was in a shop. After all, this was the last time right? It had been the last time for a while.
Scott looked down at the whiskey he had bought entranced by the label; a mouthful would take the itch off until he got home.

Glug

Glug

Glug

Red, white and golden brown encompassing the bottle was all he could see. Scott smiled, closing his eyes to feel the warm comforting buzz he felt from the pricks of his scalp right through to the bones of his feet. When he opened his eyes again he jolted in fright as his hands were stiffly clinging to his steering wheel and he was chugging slowly down a darkening lane way. His left hand rocketed out to wipe his eyes from the haze, dragging his wrinkles further down his leather skin. His eyes shifted to his rear view mirror, thankfully there was no cars behind or in front of him. For now.
His eyes then drifted down to see his litre bottle of whiskey hastily shoved into and barely fitting into his coffee cup holder; half empty. Scott’s hands began to shake in realisation, a pit opened within his stomach pulling his insides under, churning, burning; creating hellfire of dread. A bump in the road nudged him to also comprehend that he was accidentally steering his beat up sedan off the road. Once he was back on the straight and narrow, Scott squinted out of his dirty windshield trying to make out where he was. The sun was setting and it let off a brilliant golden glow, highlighting the heaps of leaves that floated around and across the roads. Ahead, the road began opening up onto a junction leading down into a village. Scott sighed in relief as he began to recognise his surroundings.

‘Must have taken the back roads…’ Scott thought to himself. His fingers began to drum on the steering wheel, he was on edge. He had to get home. His arms began to shake in impatience, bubbling to anger at no one but himself. His car creaked to a halt, indicator on. His watery eyes zoomed right and left and right and left and right and left. There were many cars going in the same direction, very slowly. Scott leaned farther and farther towards his dashboard, curiosity beginning to overcome his restlessness. Then his questions started to be answered as a hearse drove by cocooning a coffin, carrying it to its final destination. Scott blinked and let out a sad sigh as he remembered that the funeral of a local woman, the same age as his son who was murdered was that day. As the cars that were accompanying the dead seemed to move, Scott glimpsed many supportive mourners on the paths cradling together. With no music or talking radio heads within the car with Scott, the blinking of the indicator seemed to click louder and louder with each second that passed. Scott’s eyes bugged out of his sockets as he stared down at the handle, at the last minute he switched it off and burst off into traffic anyway, turning without flicking it back on. Horns blared at him from every direction, it encircled him, it was a miracle he didn’t hit anybody.

One more chug,

Two more,

Three chugs,

and finally he was home. He was itching to get home, it felt like his skeleton was trying to jump out of his skin. He carved his keys into the his front door and let it swing off the hall table, allowing him to jolt back to reality with the deafening noise. He didn’t remember taking out the whiskey bottle from his car, but it was in his hand nonetheless. He slammed it down on the table and stared at it, his body shook, he couldn’t tell what he was feeling anymore. But what he did know was that he was utterly helpless. He was doomed to seek it out anytime, anywhere no matter what he was doing, he would be thinking; when would be the next time he would be satisfied? He glanced up the stairs, he had to talk to someone…
In desperation he began to crawl rapidly up the stairs in a hurry to relieve his woes. He puffed out air as he got to the landing and made his way towards his sons room, he threw the door open once again. He grimaced this time at how loud it was, especially as he saw his son curled up asleep. He felt guilty then, because he knew how his son struggled to sleep the past week. He had a feeling to what was going on but didn’t want Scott to get any ideas unnerving him.

The next morning,

Scott forced himself up, he wanted to be there for his son. He wasn’t sure if he had connected the dots himself…His birthday was this week, his twenty first. Scott was still sitting on his bed, his legs didn’t want to support him. His body was heavy, stuck within a cycle of rejecting alcohol. His rough hands shook at his face to try and massage feeling back into the lines that mapped his features. A muffled shrilling shriek ran through his ears, his phone was vibrating his snoozed alarm through his pillow. Scott sighed and shoved his hand under to switch it off. Nine a.m, it wasn’t too early but it was early for an alcohol worn body. He slammed a fist on his twig of a knee, trying to rouse himself. He had to put his son in front of himself, he hadn’t done so in a good while. Scott grasped himself up and to his feet, he wobbled a bit but he held his balance. A chill crept through his skin as he was only dressed in his worn out boxers, he pulled on his dressing gown and shuffled on slippers before creeping downstairs to the kitchen. Scott blinked and squinted around his house, he felt like he was only beginning to see for the first time in ages; blind for weeks. The house wasn’t that messy, but you could tell that certain areas seemed to be left abandoned…while Charlie helped around the house, he certainly secluded himself mainly to his own room. The house was just occupied by ghosts, drifting through for their needs.

Sadness wracked through Scott, he felt like he was failing his only son. He was failing his son. Dust whispered underneath his slippers as he padded around his living room. Observing his house like a stranger, inspecting what each abandoned glass and cigarette butt represented in the linear story. Which one was first, which one was last? Scott exhaled in defeat and moved finally to the kitchen, he flicked on the kettle and it churned; building up to a scream. As he waited, he also clicked on the radio, not turning the dial to anything in particular; he just needed voices for company. Scott leaned against the counter, trying to rest once more his feebled body. His eyes flickered to the side of the fridge, old photographs of a better time littered its body. Scott’s favorite one jumped out at him. It was a photo of himself in a fitted deep blue suit beaming out at the camera, he was holding up a laughing four year old Charlie, who was reaching out towards his mother; Janet. It was their wedding day.

Of course, his wife was no longer with us. He was never the same when his wife died, but of course it was Charlie’s loss too, his mother. Three years. Scott was only beginning to dawn on how much damage his way of mourning further caused harm to his only family member left.

“Of course, of course they’re gonna say they’re not together but the the tabloids and the pictures say otherwise. Ya can’t explain away them photos, ya seen ‘em Jim? They could be sold to Playboy…”

“Ya, I’ve seen ‘em Bobby, scandalous stuff right there!” Scott sighed as his ears began taking in the nonsense that spewed from the radio, he decided to leave the station on as he began to make breakfast. He opened the fridge to see it was barren of food, random condiments and basic rations scattered the shelves. Scott rummaged for a moment and found two eggs and one slice of bacon in an opened package. He grimaced but he was sure he could work with what he had, it wouldn’t be a full Irish breakfast but it would be something nice nonetheless. As Scott pottered around he seemed oddly transfixed with the gossip of unknown celebrities love affairs, it made him smile at the thought. The silliness he and the presenters seemed to have over this was insane. His mouth twinged as he realised how rare it was over the last few years for him to smile. And, he smiled again. He had also found bread bundled into the cupboard so he had toast popping out at him now, signalling he was nearly ready to serve up.
Just as Scott was laying plates out and about to turn and call up to Charlie, his eyes had met his sons. He looked worried, not happy that he was serving breakfast.

Nonetheless, Scott broke another unfamilar smile and pronounced; “Oh, Charlie I was about to go and wake you, you’re just in time for breakfast!”But Charlie’s expression didn’t change.

“Breakfast?” Charlie questioned.
“Yes, breakfast.”
“I got up because I thought I could smell burning.”
“Nothing’s burning, I can assure you.” Scott joked, but a twinge of defeat echoed his words.
“You never make breakfast.”
“Today I did.” Scott said defiantly.

There was silence then as Charlie raised his eyebrow and nodded, pulling out a seat at the rarely used kitchen table. Scott swallowed and turned back to placing the food onto two plates, he had given the rogue bacon to Charlie.
Scott moved the plates down and shoved Charlies in front of him with cutlery. Two slices of toast cut into triangles, an egg and the bacon was placed on top as a way of decorating up the plate.

“Dad?”
“Yeah?”
“Uh, I’m allergic to eggs…” Charlie said, without looking up, he was scraping the egg with his fork over to the side of his plate so the yolk didn’t bleed too much onto the rest of his food. Scott looked at his son wide eyed and grabbed his plate.
“Since when?” He asked as he scraped the egg onto his own plate. He then stood up and grabbed a napkin and wiped the plate of yolk and his fork.
“Uhm…since I was twelve.” Charlie answered, his eyebrows quirking in confusion at his father. All Scott could say in response was; “Oh.”

Heavy silence weighed the room down as they both tucked into their now luke warm meal. The radio presenters seemed to take stage again, their voices louder because of the tense quiet.
“I don’t know Bobby, I just don’t get how affairs still happen, does it not hurt? Like obviously it hurts the person being cheated on emotionally yes, but don’t the others involved not get that ache of betrayal? The physical ache of betraying a soul mate?”

“Maybe they never matched with their soul mate?”Bobby questioned.

“Maybe.” Jim contemplated. There was a crackle as Jim was trying find the right words. “I think it’s messed up. My brother never had the luxury of meeting his soul mate, the stuff that he went through…well, boy oh boy thankfully he has his Gurdian. I wouldn’t wish a sucker’s soul mate dying on them after matching on my enemy.” Jim’s words seemed to shatter the room like glass. Charlie’s brown eyes met his match with his father’s. The thing is with coffee brown eyes, it didn’t take much to make them look drained with sadness. Scott’s heart felt like it had been punched, his body drained…he lusted once more for the swig of the bottle.

But

He was trying to be better, a light dinged within his brain, flashing answers for both their questions.
“Charlie…” Scott sounded out his sons’s name carefully.
“Yeah?”
“I think I know why you’ve been like this for the last few days…” Scott trailed off, he glanced at his son, he could see from his expression that fear gripped him. Charlie bit and chewed his teeth, feeling icy. He had no idea that his dad was even sober enough to be aware something was wrong. Charlie swallowed; “you do?” His dad nodded solemnly and cleared his throat; “I think your soul mate has died.” Once the words were strung out in the open, they seemed to hang there hauntingly; cementing the truth. Charlie’s heart lurched as if to confirm it.
“You really…think so?” Charlie expressed hoarsely. Once again his dad nodded, this time not meeting his eyes. “We’ll have to go down to the Town House to contact the ministry to make sure…” Scott trailed off his eyes unfocused, thinking.

“Dad?” Scott blinked rapidly and turned his attention back to his son.
He said nothing more.
“Is it true, will…I never…know love?” Scott pursed his lips, his grey stubble stretched against his skin with the movements.
“You will still have her as your guardian.” Was all Scott said.
Charlie bowed his head, unable to comprehend what he was feeling entirely. ‘That butterfly…’ Charlie thought, putting the pieces together. It must be true. He was mournful, he had always thought the idea of a one true love wasn’t true. The whole world sold it to him. But he always wondered what would happen when he finally turned twenty-one, with such bad luck all his life…was it meant to just occur out of nowhere? Meeting the one? It sounded so natural, the stories his mother would share with him how she and his father had met. And of course the stories of lovers never being able to meet. A boy dying on a boy, a girl dying on a girl and a girl dying on a boy. These were woven to feel like fables, myths for people who didn’t believe in love. People who didn’t believe in love like Charlie…was he being punished?
“It’s true then?” Charlie pushed his father to answer, “she’s bound to me now? How its that fair on her spirit?”
Scott bowed his head in acknowledgment, he sighed trying to choose the best words.

“Yes but it’s for the best the best for both of you.”
“What do you mean?” Charlie asked with an edge to his voice unsolicited anger was bubbling away. “It’s for the comfort of both of you, otherwise you’d both go insane without love in your lives, she’d dissipate into a poltergeist and you…”Scott smirked sadly, “you’d turn out like your old papa here.” He said bitterly.
Charlie looked up, reading his father, knowing that he spoke the truth. Feeling like he had accepted what was happening within his soul, his heart rate, he had realised that seemed to always feel like being on speed dial lately; finally seemed to calm down. This was his life now, and he had to embrace that fact. Otherwise his father was right, he could feel the resentment of the world manifesting within his being the past few days, and this confession of truth to himself, felt like the pins holding him down were being released,
one by

one.

Uncategorized

The Motel

 

Empty.

Although the room is compiled with furniture and drapery; it’s empty. Devoid of emotion in Lani’s eyes. Finger bones fidgeted hard against her knees; normally a harmless anxious tick turned to a worrying one. As she had been in the same position for over an hour now, skin ran along her nails and blood spotted around the scrapes she kneaded through her body. She sat rigid at the end of the motel room bed, legs glued together, eyes unfocused.

Thinking.

Thinking.

Thinking.

The colors that ran along the looks of burnt lasagna seemed to occupy the theme of the room. Horrible oranges and browns intertwined together in indistinguishable patterns, perhaps to other people the room could actually be considered cosy but to Lani it was anything and everything but that.
It was a prison.

Enclosing.

Constricting. Choking her from the belly up, fear that was unfamiliar to her bubbled up through her throat, restricting her breaths. Trying to grasp the reigns of control on her body, Lani began chanting to herself; “Get up! Get up! Get up!”
Her lips were cracked and dry, and the words she croaked sounded unfamiliar to herself; as if something else was trying to itch its way out of her. Her dirty blonde hair waved in front of her angled face, dripping past the nape of her neck, sending chills down her spine. Flashing lights filtered through the netted window, lighting up the darkening room. The sun had set twenty minutes prior. At the sudden blinding light Lani creaked her neck to look at the window, it had felt like an age since she had moved any other body part apart from her lips and fingers. Her sudden and unexpected movement seemed to give her new found strength and without thinking; she bounced to her feet. Ripples of shock infiltrated her body, sending her head spinning. She stumbled a few steps until her hand grazed the television, static tickled her fingertips.

Just as Lani regained her balance, voices embodied with laughter and whispers wavered through the air under the door. They were close to her room. ‘Too close’ Lani thought, she shuffled (her legs still weak from no movement) towards the door. She smashed her ear against the door; listening, her weight also positioning in a way that if anyone were to move to open her door, she’d have the chance to push them out and lock her wooden shield. Her heart thumped against her rib cage, the vibrations echoed through every crevice in her body, making her tingly all over again. Adrenaline pumping through her veins. Drunken slurs were the only things she could make out, nothing suspicious. Yet. Lani moved her body from the sideways position she was in and placed her whole back on the door, breath escaped her lungs she didn’t know she was holding. She was shaking again. She placed one hand on her chest and she closed eyes, trying to steady the rhythm within her body. Lani’s washed out green eyes were open once again. They shifted to the bathroom door, it was cracked open and the artificial light bled out into the rest of the room, mocking her.
Every time she glanced at it the room seemed to shift, upside down, the walls closing in, squeezing the life out of her. The strange patterns on the walls, mocked her. The mirrors were the worst, one was looking at her right now, evaluating every inch. A loud buzzing through her into disarray again, she glanced over to where her phone lay vibrating loudly on the nightstand. The screen lit up towards the ceiling, a signaling beacon calling to her. Lani made no attempt to answer it and watched as it thudded to the shabby carpet, continuing to ring. She didn’t need to look at who was calling, she assumed it was the same person that was trying to contact her the last three days. When the ringing ceased, the silence in the room was so overwhelming it hummed against the walls and bounced around Lani’s head. In annoyance she glared back at the mirror that was on the opposite wall, dried blood caked her neck, face and clothes. They clung to her. Becoming apart of her.

Lani took a steady breath, her body was back to its normal self. She unstuck herself from the door and cracked her neck, finding her rhythm once more.

Another breath.

                     Slow.
But one that filled her lungs.

Another.
Breath.
Eyes closed now.

She let out a small smile and creeped her eyes back to the door.
Now,
one thing you should know about Lani is: it wasn’t so much that she was blind to truth and morality. It was just that she saw these things differently, she saw the world so much differently.
One step,
Two steps,
Three steps,
Four.
She was outside the bathroom now, all she had to do was open the door.

Open
THE
DOOR
She forced herself to open the door so abruptly that it shook against the tiles, opening the room up to noise once more but again the silence overcame it. Lani placed herself within the room, her eyes immediately going to what she had done. It was only her second time, but nonetheless, she had done it in her eyes, perfectly. A woman her age, lay face down in the bathtub. Her strawberry blonde cradled her body. She had known her, she was once a friend.
The first one was a stranger.
She couldn’t decide yet which one was easier, because even though she felt good doing the deed.
Killing.
She had such anxiety about it. Funny, no?

Lani caught herself looking at her again, she had to explain. Out loud. Her mouth gobbled up and down with only air coming out first. Her eyes squinted down in frustration, twice, as she looked and looked. Finally she grasped the words from her mouth and shoved them at the sink;

“On Tuesday she asked me the most peculiar question.”
She waited for a response, comfort for her actions, recognition, relief of what she had done. Awareness of what she meant. But no. All she saw was a face contorted into rage. Lani surged towards the mirror and gripped the sink, she opened her mouth to snarl at her image.

….Why did she do?

But before she could say anything a thump and muffled voices echoed against her wall. Her heart went silent once more. Trying to escape her throat. Voices turned to laughter and they died down again with a slam of their door. Their door shutting sent a shock wave through Lani’s room, shaking through her bones once more. Looking back at herself in the mirror she had turned several shades paler, she meekly set her mouth and turned away back to the work at hand.

Tick
Tock
Goes
The
Clock.

The slower she carried herself, the more likely she would be caught.
Lani carried and placed herself to sit on the edge of the bath; she stared down at Edela, her eyes taking in every inch. The way her left arm jutted out and arranged itself at an unnatural angle, it was like she was trying to position herself out of the tub, but if she had with that arm…it would snap. Not that it mattered anyway, she was already dead. You knew that already though right? That she was dead. What else would be happening. Her feet were kicked upwards and you could see the soles of her shoes, dirtied and covered with soil, leaves and debris. Just like the rest of her. Although, that could not be left as is. Obviously, everything must be cleaned. Everything. Lani looked down at herself then and shrugged, she muttered an insincere; “sorry,” and began to grip hold of Edela and heave her out of the tub.
She huffed and puffed as she didn’t take the right stance at first for heavy lifting, she bit her lip in concentration and broke through the skin, her own blood dripped down and mixed with Edela’s. With one final shove, she pushed her victim onto the bathroom tiles with a thud that was louder than she expected. She cursed and stepped into the bathtub and fiddled with the dials of the shower. She stripped down from the clothes but left them in the tub to be washed with her. She gave another glance down at the woman, she was lying on her back now, her eyes were lightly open but stared straight through the ceiling. The water had began trickling down and around her, washing her of her sins. Lani’s fingers twitched at her sides, unable to break eye contact with a dead girl and in one go she snatched the shower curtain over to cover herself.

She clutched at the bar of soap and rubbed methodically at her body, every so often her eyes would sneak a glance at the shadowed being lying dead next to her. Every time she did she would expect it to be gone or, worse; for her to be see her shadow emerge and envelope the curtain and Edela would strangle her in revenge. The steam from the water began to drape over her physically and mentally enclosing her, providing her with uncertain comfort. Lani’s scrubbing began to intensify and her skin was beginning to brighten as it turned raw. Next she traversed to her scalp, she dropped the soap and dumped the whole complimentary shampoo bottle into her hands and frothed at her hair. Her broken and thinning nails began to snag in between strands but it didn’t slow her cleaning.

She had to be sure.
 She had to be sure.
It wasn’t long before every inch of her was burning bright as a star. When she deemed that her cleaning process was good enough, she yanked the faucets to a light trickle as she crouched and ran her clothes under the taps too. Lani rang them out and left them to drip dry on the towel rack. Lani sighed heavy with tiredness, she couldn’t put a finger on how long she’d been in the bathroom for. She stepped delicately out of the tub, careful not to stand on the body and neither bothering to dry herself off. She then climbed into the hazmat bunny suit she had picked up at Walmart.

Now, was when the real work would begin.

Short Stories

The Moment I felt Infinite

It’s said that memories should not be relied upon. In your own mind you have the power to bend and change details. Aspects can be blurred and at points you arrive at destinations in your mind where you don’t hold a clue to how the journey began. I think my brain acknowledges this because when I do look upon moments in my life, it’s fuzzy. It’s a burnt out library leaving a few singed pages of gibberish filling in blanks of the past. One of my surviving texts of memory is unusual but wonderful.

Lights.

An Incredible amount of blinding and blinking lights. This was tinted with hollers and giggles of excitement. These echoes of laughter belonged to my group of friends. There were four of us in total, Clara, Bevin, Harper and I. This was the first time for all of us to traverse to the fun-fair without an adult present. As you can imagine we should be unbelievably excited. My friends were. However I was on edge. The day looming ahead would be the day where three of my friends would be leaving me. Leaving my school for the bigger better secondary school and springing into adulthood without me. I was a year younger than all three. You could have called me angry or bitter or even just moody. The three didn’t want to notice, I didn’t want to notice. I felt trapped within my vessel, irrational anxiety clinging to my controls while I watched onwards, helpless in my own skin as it shifted and wrapped around into frowns and scowls and sighs, as Clara goofed and gaffed, cartwheeling to our destination. It was something I would normally be fond of but every moment they laughed into the air without me an itch would twinge inside me making my frown deeper and my legs move a little slower.

We’ve all been in those positions before, haven’t we? Where a sudden darkness pulls us down, slightly unaware to why it happens but we move with its shadows all the same, every smile, every laugh we see feeds the energy into sucking us down more. Because, in that moment we can’t relate to those that are happy.

The fun-fair was held in an uneven grassy field, surrounded by trees and angry housing estates. It was late August but considering we lived in Ireland; the skies were continuously falling with slated mist. We raced towards our first picked ride of the evening, the deadly Waltzers. We waited in the muddy dirt track ready to pay for out tickets with other babbling teenagers. Rain danced like dust around the rainbow strobe lights that occupied ninety per cent of the carnival, creating the feel of a cheap night club. You know how bad they looked, but if you caught the eyes of these blazes and mixed them with the dance tunes that were apparently sung by chipmunks that echoed loudly and eerily across the field. You would weirdly feel infinite, which is exactly what happened to me once I stepped upon the broken metal monster that was the Waltzers platform. I stepped across the bubbled alloy, I distinctly remember how it pieced and ached my feet through the layers of my shoes. I thought it would be similar to walk across the TARDIS floor.

Similar to outside but louder, club music pounded the metallic floors and ceiling. It vibrated my bones with good feeling. The four of us squished into just one spinning car, I don’t know how we were allowed. I was placed on the far left, only barely placing my hands on the cold metal bar that kept us safe. Not a second went by to allow ourselves to adjust. We were already spinning. Only our car first, then the metallic beast awakened, trying to shake us off.

Faster.

Spinning.

Dipping.

Ascending.

Our bodies were thrown against each other violently, but all that came from our mouths was laughter and joyous screaming. Adrenaline pumped though my veins, I could feel everything that was happening, and it felt amazing. I forgot about everything that was worrying or harassing me, I was living in the moment. We rose and fell gently, our car only going meekly, spinning fast until the disjointed carousal hit warp speed. This was the moment where I felt Infinite. I felt like I could do anything. I can do anything.

We continued our fits of hallucinations and giggles. We were off our heads; this ride was like cocaine to our system. I remember at one point I completely blocked everything out. I did not scream. I did not laugh. I didn’t try to fight against g-force like my friends did. I simply shut my eyes and fell against the roughened black leather. I completely felt rifted from reality. I could feel the hum of the machine on my back, in my throat, massaging my head.

Slowly,

unnoticeable at first, the traveling metal drug began to slow, casually, deliberately then gently.

We were now drifting.

When a worker finally halted our car, I noticed I was giggling again, along with every one of my friends. We looked at each other in wonder as we staggered off the moving ocean, tears in our eyes, still laughing. We weren’t laughing at anything in particular. At least I don’t think we were, someone could have muttered a curse, anything funny, but it was blurred. My mind disproved of it being important. All that was important was the ecstatic moment we each shared.

It was my last and best memory I had with my three friends together before we drifted different paths. Nothing else mattered because we were together, we were happy and we didn’t have a clue to what was going to happen in the future. As Kevin Arnold once wrote, “Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never want to lose.” With this memory, it’s as if I never lost them.