Best stories from the past

Just as a warning: these are mostly here for my own recollection.

Sea Sleep

I strike out into the water, unconcerned with its temperature or the light nonexistent in the blackness swallowing the night.

The clothes melt away like sugar in the flowing waves, wisting downstream and washing over the fish, the rocks, the seaweed.

The future looms large over me; the eventual is coming.

I paddle and stroke to a spot far away from shore, so far away that I can only see a distant glimpse of the land I have left. It appears blurry, as if it were vanishing from my memory.

With naught to defend myself, I stop struggling against the efforts of the sea to carry me with it. The currents grab and pull me in a thousand different directions as I fly away from home, the home I once knew.

For that home is gone, now, absorbed into a subconscious a philosopher could not tap. The new home is the one I will make for myself, captured in the essence of my now-free existence.

I lay back and relax. The sea has stopped, I’ve stopped, my life has stopped advancing. Content, I lay back on the invisible barrier of my soothed mind and sleep, sleeping until the universe deems me fit to reawaken.

I sleep a very long time.

The Maw

I watched him walk forth. He gazed around nervously with every step. Cautiously, he slowly advanced into the maw.

The maw had always been present. The maw had created evil, destroyed hope, and altered the course of events for our world.

But it was never the maw itself that destroyed; the souls of the people destroyed themselves. The series of events was never the same, but those seeking fame, glory, and riches had always come out empty-handed, then empty-minded, and eventually empty of all life.

But he walked into the center, not even skirting the outside edges searching for a weak spot. The maw welcomed him with the tendrils of the night, and he continued.

I followed him closer. I had never watched the entrance before, only the exits: the screaming cries of terror, the insane laughter, the shrieks of joy, the sobs of sorrow. Never the same. But his appearance and emotions were normal: cautious, nervous, but resolute in his path.

As he neared the middle, my lines of sight blurred. It looked as though heat was rising and distorting the air, even as the temperature dropped to freezing as I watched. He took the final step…

… and vanished. I waited.

Several minutes later, there was a brilliant burst of light. A beam of hope had shot from the maw. I watched his lifeless body rise above the ashes of the maw as rays of white were expelled from his being. The maw screamed, and fought back, summoning a massive cloud of black from its murky depths.

But it was too late. The rays were absolute in their path, and consumed the maw in its entirety. The visions became too bright to watch, and I closed my eyes, waiting for it to be over, waiting for the end.

The light subsided, and I ran to his body. It lay on the ground, arms across his stomach, hat askew. His face was drained of all color. But he had sacrificed his soul for the destruction of the maw, and so I kissed his cheek and lay next to him, waiting for the sun to rise upon the miracle.

No Future

The clasps were vanquished, and I was free; I was free of the hate and the love and the tyranny and the charity and the whole world.

Wings sprouted from my arms and I flew away, gliding over the cities, the countries, the worlds of people both calling me back and wishing my journey well.

The music blew down from heaven, and I tap-danced on the notes as they crossed my path, my ever-changing path. The future opened its doors, and I sailed through it, riding a stream of music, laughter, and cheers.

But the moment was gone. The door closed as I reached it, vanishing quickly before my eyes. The notes squealed, dropped like stones into bottomless pits, scratching their way through the air. The voices stopped; the yells started. Angry, demonic yells came from every corner, surrounding me with their ferocity.

The wings withered and died, leaving long, bloody scars in the flesh where they had manifested.

The shackles sprouted from the darkness now enveloping me, holding me down and dragging me back, back, back into the endless circle of a living hell, with only the scars as a reminder of what could have been, of what might have become.

Selflection

Having someone to go on an adventure with would make the journey worthwhile.

For

For elation, a smile.
For the memory, a tear.

For the smile, a hug.
For the tear, a tissue.

For the hug, a kiss.
For the tissue, the trash.

For the kiss, love.
For the trash,

Twilight tears

He stood at the crossroads, ready to make his move.

She had left him far behind, disappeared into the land of light, of joy. Her friends welcomed her with open arms, and she snuggled under them, laughing and playing.

He stood. His heart wanted to push his feet forward, toward her… his brain told him to step back, back into the lonely darkness.

His thoughts had been hurting him for a long time. She’s happier, he told himself, she doesn’t need me. His heart wanted to believe in the best of her… she loved me once.

Moments later, or perhaps hours, or weeks, his brain conquered, and he arose from his twilight to finally enter the black, never to return. After one step, a tear fell from his cheek. This wasn’t easy.

That tear hit the ground and stayed there, illuminating a patch of ground. A beam shone from the indeterminate sky, revealing a lone finger.

He took another step back. Four more tears fell, and created brilliant patches. An entire hand reached out to him, begging for forgiveness.

Could this be real? he wondered, as he bent over to examine the hand. It looked real, and acted real, and acted as if it wanted him. He stretched out his hand…

and before his mind could consciously grasp it, the hand snapped forward and yanked his wrist down, down into the ground as he was absorbed into the light. She had come back for him, and held on with a loving embrace as he cried tears of joy, crystallizing their journey for the whole world to see.

Paranoid

I wish she had been more for me, in my own head. She occupied my every thought, as I spent my days wishing we could be together, bonded by love.

No one else believed me. They thought I was mad. I always had this far-off expression in my face, a glazed look in the eyes, as I reminisced on our short time together.

I just need more. Something more to stimulate myself. Thinking isn’t enough anymore. There has to be some way to physically connect with her, something more meaningful than this self-piteous existence.

Maybe everyone else was right. Maybe I am going crazy.

I saw spirits, hallucinations of her, gliding down the halls of my brain, haunting my every moment. Could she be with me through every breath, past every heartbeat?

Yes.

Love for me, the feelings I shared with this ideal of a woman, wasn’t close by. It was lust, lust that was keeping me alive, keeping me sane, if this was indeed sanity.

Perhaps I was simply preconditioned to fail. Years of rejection forced me to draw within myself, turning a deaf ear to those only wanting to help. My memories of her served as my crutch, as I whimpered through my own personal hells.

It got to the point where I couldn’t communicate with the few real people I had left. They would try and be serious, I would exhale and ignore them. They would try and cheer me up, and I’d be reminded of my own thoughts and burst into tears.

There were no emotions left.

So here I am. This is my story. It’s a sad, desperate tale of one man without a purpose, wandering in search of something that only exists inside himself. Don’t make my mistakes. Don’t be someone like me. I’m forever committed… you still have a chance.

Last page

And as I open the book to the final page, I simply want to tear it out, throw it asunder, and scribble a new beginning in permanent ink.

For the old story is gone, and we will write our own, together.

Flying

I missed her, and she missed me, but not in the traditional sense.

Instead of simply being together physically, we had joined in spirit, our personalities synchronized as we flew through the atmosphere, unbound by any laws or rules. She pulled and I pushed and we turned, and this kept up for hours and days on end.

For a short while, however, she left. Vanished. We kept in contact, occasionally, but ultimately we had been separated, unable to fly.

When her other friends were able to connect with her, to skim the wake behind her trail in the earth, it was hard not to be jealous. They were hang-gliding, at best, but the want was there, the need was there.

When I found a note on my desk, whisked here by pure love and innocence, with only a heart and a “miss you” on it, it filled me with joy, and I flew even by myself… for I knew now that she was with me always.

“Dream Police” meet 1984

The Thought Police, they live inside of my head!
The Thought Police, they come to me in my bed!
The Thought Police, they’re coming to arrest me, oh no!

You know that talk is tight, but those rumors aren’t gone…
And when I fall asleep I don’t think I’ll survive Room 101… 101!

‘Cause he’s waiting for me,
he’s looking at me,
Every single night he’s driving me insane!
That man on the telescreen!

The Thought Police, they live inside of my head!
The Thought Police, they come to me in my bed!
The Thought Police, they’re coming to arrest me, oh no!

Well I can’t tell the truth, ‘cause they’re listening to me…
And when I look concerned, bet they’re spying on me, tonight, tonight!

‘Cause he’s waiting for me,
he’s looking at me,
Every single night he’s driving me insane!
That man on the telescreen!

I try to scheme, they’re wide awake, they won’t leave me alone…
They don’t get paid, but still the Party won’t leave me alone…
They spy on me, I try to hide, they won’t leave me alone…
O’Brien got me, he’s the judge and jury all in one!

‘Cause he’s waiting for me,
he’s looking at me,
Every single night he’s driving me insane!
That man on the telescreen!

The Thought Police, they live inside of my head!
The Thought Police, they come to me in my bed!
The Thought Police, they’re coming to arrest me, oh no!

The candle had gone out.

And all that was left was dripping wax, like falling tears, onto the once-serene carpet.

Final cross country race, and thoughts on the season

Today was the final race of the season for cross country. 14 runners and two coaches, loaded up in two vans, on a ride out to Fremont for the district race.

Sail out, on a distant highway…

On the boys’ side, we knew we weren’t going to make state. This was just a fact. We’re not competitive enough, this final race was (for most of us) the last cross country race we would run as high schoolers, and probably ever.

And you wanna run, but somehow you just keep on stayin’…

Fremont’s course is on a golf course just outside of Fremont proper. The course for the boys essentially consists of running the entire circuit 2.5 times (two entire loops, then the first part backwards into the finish). We walked the course as a team and then split off – the girls went to warm up, the guys relaxed.

I see my Marianne walking away…

We watched the girls take off, and caught them again on the final leg of the race. Jackie was in fifth or so, which was great! and Molly, one of our best runners in prior meets, was doing poor for herself… she was down around 22 when she passed us, and was losing ground. No idea what was wrong, but she was upset, and for good reason.

Wish there was something I could say…

So the boys are getting pumped up. Time to go. Last race. Ever. I set a friendly bet with Westoad and Dante, who, along with me, round out the bottom three spots on varsity. In past races we’ve been fairly close to each other, so we decide to reimburse whoever gets their score counted for team placement (since only the top 5 count). We do our strides and are ready to rock.

I think I should be goin’, yeah…

First corner comes up, and the bottom three ends up being Dante and Toad and I fairly quickly. We all understand that this is probably our end destination, about 20 minutes from now. No matter. Maintain pace, try and keep with the last couple runners that are behind the packs.

I don’t care if I get behind…

The first lap goes fairly well. I’ve decided in my own head that I need to run as hard as I can… nothing else matters anymore. This is for pride. There is a single Grand Island runner in front of me that I’m pretty sure I can catch, and I do on the first downhill. Things are going… fine. I’m in front of Dante and the Toad, and now the GI kid. Woo.

I have climbed to the top of the company ladder…

… but, in the fight to go big or go broke, I go broke. There are only two uphills in the entire course, and after the second one my vision is almost gone. For the first time in my entire athletic career, I pass out, briefly, at the top of the hill. I don’t think there’s anyone up there who sees me fall, and I don’t remember exactly what happened. I vaguely remember Westoad passing me (because Dante and Grand Island already had), and at some point I guess I got up and started running again.

I closed my eyes and I slipped away…

So I finish the race. My head’s only somewhat cleared before I hit the finish line. There is nobody in sight, I’m in dead last by a massive margin. I don’t see my time and I don’t ask – in fact I still don’t know what it is. I don’t need to know. It’s a huge disappointment, to want to charge for a personal record and instead fall flat on my face.

And time doesn’t wait for me, it keep on flowing…

I stumble back to camp, get some words from my dad, my coaches, and the few teammates who have noticed that something is at all wrong with me. I tell my coach, Bakewell, thanks for four years of cross country, and she is a little taken aback. Despite me berating the sport in general every chance I got, I still value my time here, running with everyone.

You’ll forget about me after I’ve been gone…

Jackie placed, so we stick around to watch her get her medal. Then I leave with my dad, taking his work van straight home instead of a school van. We’ve got enough of a journey home ahead of us.

There’s a long road I gotta stay in time with…

I’m sad and angry that my season, my running career with any semblance of competition, came to such a disappointing, terrible end. I set a personal record last week while sicker than I am now, on a course that’s hillier than this one, in wind that was stronger than it was today. I came in confident, ready, rearing to go, and got nothing.

I’ve got to keep on chasing that dream, though I may never find it…

At the same time, I’m happy that cross country is over. It was a labor, and it was never my favorite thing to do in the afternoons. Never again will I need to run five thousand kilometers, exhausting myself in the process, just, well, because. Tell Burke, or Kearney, or whoever to keep doing that.

People living in competition…

In the end, there’s nothing I can do anymore. Cross country is done, my season is done, and my last year of high school is one quarter of the way over. There’s nothing left but to be happy with what I accomplished, to be content with my influence, to be at rest with myself.

All I want is to have my peace of mind…

Coming to pass

The conquest was over, the enemies slain, the chalice returned. I took the fair maiden for my own, and we became one, and as she stared into my eyes I swore to her that we would live happily forever after.

But both her and I know that this will not come to pass. The darkness is just as fast as the light, omnipresent, waiting for the light to vanish. For as light requires energy, requires time and effort and money… darkness only requires ignorance and laziness. I swore when I took her hand that I would eradicate the darkness.

But both her and I know that this will not come to pass. You cannot remove the dark. It will always swirl around us, and our challenge is only to open our hearts, our minds, to the bright white light. We will forever defend ourselves from evil, from pain, from sickness, from death.

But both her and I know that this will not come to pass. All humans grow weary, and cannot hold an impenetrable barrier. Armor that once was glistening, gleaming silver is now a tarnished, cracked, mottled carcass. The rapier cannot deflect every incoming attack. No matter. We will defend our honor to the last, and defy everyone.

Bu both her and I know that this will not come to pass. We will fall victim to terror, and quake in our shoes; we will suffer physical pain, and whimper in our beds. But we will never stop ourselves from each other, for the only truth is the truth that we will build, constructing it brick by brick every day from our experiences together.

And both her and I know that this will come to pass.

The edge

We clasped our hands together, my right in her left, and we jumped over the edge.

The fall was long, and even the stars couldn’t keep up as we descended into the thick black world below us. Time seemed to slow down and falter as even the pinpoint of light from the edge faded. We stayed in contact, never letting go.

The journey took minutes, then hours, then days passed. We had taken turns sleeping, the other holding on, keeping them from floating away. We had started out talking, but eventually had run out of things to say, and had instead drifted closer, holding each other in our arms.

Though we had long since stopped caring about where we were, a lone thread of light unraveled itself from the darkness, miles and miles below us. We couldn’t see each other, but we could see the brilliance below us, and we shed a tear of joy.

As we approached the speck, it grew larger, into a bigger and bigger disk of warmth. The only concern now was surviving the eventual fall. We didn’t beg, we didn’t pray, we only grasped each other more tightly, fanning our arms and legs wider, trying to push against the closing gap between us and the end.

But our destiny had already ensnared us, and we started to float, even glide downward. I saw her face for the first time in quite a long time, and kissed her, and only broke off when I heard the rumbling below.

Our destination had decided to welcome us, allowing us to plant our feet on the golden cloud. Birds flew overhead, and the rumbling faded away as a river slid between hilltops just out of sight. This jump, the legendary fall, and all the mystery surrounding it was laid to waste, and all the magic of our love would continue forever after.

Top Jimmy

I saw him walking down the street, earbuds stuck in his ears. There was snow on the ground and the temperature was low, so his heavy coat was zipped up, the hood bouncing off his ears.

The guitar began to play, and the drumbeat yelled their introductions.

He looked almost suave in his coat as he continued on his path. Some kid threw a snowball at his feet, almost by accident, and he barely flicked his head in the kid’s direction. That small movement alone was enough to send him scampering.

They don’t remember the place, but they remember the face, and now everybody wanna go!

His eyebrows furrowed as he dug his hands further down into his pockets. The wind had picked up, and I saw it seep through his ungloved hands as he gave a little shiver.

Yeah the joint be jumping when the band be pumping, and you know they play a crazy gig!

His head huddled down into his coat, catching more of his hood on his ears to warm them. The shade gave way to the brilliant sunshine, reflecting off the snow through the neighborhood, and he turned the corner, off to a new place, a new journey. I admired him already.

Top Jimmy, he’s the king!

The fog

As the flashlight pierced the fog, what he was looking for only slunk farther and farther away. The beam could only travel so far.

He dropped it and started running.

As his feet pounded the ground, getting more and more lost, his destination approached. Not what he was looking for, but the end of his attempts.

He stopped and kneeled in the dirt.

The darkness got darker and his mind grew insane. Blackness swept into his soul. Hope extinguished, the flashlight, and the sun, gone without a trace.

He wept, never to know the fate of his other, the last person he had left.

With Me (from Quiet Places)

“Now, I’m afraid,” the old man said, “I must draw your attention to the end of the world”.

He led them through another automatic door and into a large room. Metal desks covered in buttons and switches stood in rows along its length. Wires stretched from wall to ceiling. A few lights blink dimly.

And beyond a huge glass window, surrounded by stars, hung a burning planet.

The old man broke the silence.

“Death is no longer cold. Nor lonely.” He met their stares with a sad smile.

“Why did you save us?”

He looked back out at the swirling flames for a moment. “I didn’t.”

Minutes passed before the youngest asked, “Is this heaven?”

The old man chuckled, briefly, as though he had realised part way through that it was inappropriate.

“No, this isn’t heaven. You died, just like everybody else. Blinding light, roaring heat, and then you were nowhere. Or everywhere, if that’s what you’d rather believe.”

“So where are we?” The child stepped forward, carefully.

“With me.”

the most painful thing about growing up (from zaedilux)

the most painful thing about growing up is realising that the heroes of your childhood are people too; that they’re flawed, more flawed than you could ever have imagined; that just because they are good teachers or parents or neighbours or friends or doctors or lawyers or cooks or writers doesn’t necessarily mean they are good people. when the rose-coloured shades of your childhood have been lifted and you’re ready to see the world for what it is, you realise that there very seldom is what they call unconditional love. the word love for all its intangibility is used over and over and over again and so carelessly and foolishly even though no one ever understands what it means, what it stands for, what it does and this is the terrible human condition that will make man weep forever and ever until death do they die. you start to learn that what people call love is actually want and need and lust for validation and security and acceptance and approval and every other pain-in-the-ass emotion you’ve been doctrined to believe you need to be human and you begin to see that no one ever truly loves you just the way you are because there is always expectation which mostly leads to disappointment and then resentment and then the inevitable dissipation of their affection for you which recedes in passing degrees until you are nothing but a carcass. your heroes lie when they tell you they love you and they’ll protect you and they’ll catch you when you fall and they’ll never ever let the men inside your head swallow you whole. they will grow old and bitter and tire of you because you’ve tired of worshipping them, because you see that they don’t really deserve to be up there on the pedestal, because they aren’t gods among men, because they aren’t good after all, because they really aren’t heroes. and what the hell do you with an epiphany like that?

Breezes

taking off, soaring away. hand in hand we rise above the streets, the rooftops, the clouds, the earth.

the heavens caress us in their gentle embrace and we squeeze back, grateful for the time we have.

nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky, they say. we’re going to fight that. immortality is just a state of mind, and when you’re flying you decide the rules.

I look into her eyes and the tears come: tears of happiness, tears of sorrow, tears of worry, tears of joy.

and she leaps into my arms and wraps me up so tight that there is nothing, nothing but her and i, together, for now, for ever. the tears stop, and the love spreads, leaves a track behind our path as we float on the breezes of space.

Summer

Summer started continuance,
summer ended deliverance.

Faces I may never view,
people never will be true.

Messages written, messages sent,
messages came and messages went.

The facts are out, the truth revealed,
the old ways of thought repealed.

Teardrops fall, sad songs play,
I think about it every day.

For when you left, the dog had fight,
but now he just stays up all night.

The signs all point to moving on,
but I just can’t believe you’re gone.

A beam of light from up on high…

… still I can’t bear to say good-bye.

Bombs

The bombs fell from the sky.

We watched them rain death as they only moved closer to us.

The crowd of people come in disbelief had nowhere to turn.

Many were praying. Some were crying. Some were screaming. Some couldn’t bear to look.

I turned to you and kissed you, kissed you like I should have done a long, long time ago.

“Why hadn’t you done this earlier?” you asked. “I never knew you felt this way!” And you kissed back, and we embraced, locked in lust and love, uncaring of our fates.

Only a moment later, death reached us. The explosions fell, the planes sped overhead as the payloads raced to the ground. Destruction of everyone, everything.

And when I woke up, you were next to me, holding my hand.

“You were crying in your sleep. Are you okay?”

I hesitated – then pulled you close, and held you gently in my arms until there was nothing in the world but us, together.

Cushions

He sat in his favorite chair.

Without warning, the cushions billowed around him and enveloped him.

Curiously, he was not suffocating. Merely warm and comfortable. A big hug, rather than a harsh grip.

He stretched his arms outward and caught another hand, briefly. He couldn’t see what was happening but he stretched further.

His hand broke free of the cushions. The cool breeze over his palm cooled him slightly. He groped about as best he could, looking for the other hand.

For several minutes he tried and tried, and was on the verge of giving up when a lone finger grazed his hand.

He slowly turned his hand, grabbed onto the finger and pulled it closer, clasping its fingers in his. They felt long, slim, feminine.

Familiar.

With a whoosh, the cushions retreated, and his love gazed into his eyes, her hand in his hand, standing next to him with a small grin on her face.

“I found you.”

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