The bed in the guest room was comfortable, but wasn’t the same as home. Lying on her back, she willed herself to sleep.
A cat jumped onto the bed near her feet.
Oh, she thought, hello bedmate...
She felt the cat walk over her legs, felt its feline weight as it draped its body over her abdomen.
She soon drifted off to sleep hoping it wouldn’t begin that kneading thing cats sometimes do and wake her.
In the morning, she poured herself coffee and commented, “I didn’t know you had a cat.”
Her host’s face grew pale, “I don’t.”
She loved the feeling of walking away. Everyone exited the train, masses herd to the left, following the siren sound of success. She turned right. To her street. To her home. She still works. But it doesn’t look like it used to. No pantyhose and heels. No bumping elbows or bruised egos that punch harder than a heavyweight boxer. She was so happy about this new world, answering to herself on her own timeline, she never noticed the shadow figure in her periphery. He masked the malice of his intent. Method over mania, he repeated to himself. Method over mania.
She Left Him In Chicago
“I sit in the dark because that’s where he left me, so I know it’s where I’ll find him. When I do, I’ll show him a flash of light keeping him there forever.”
The city stench followed him home like a stray dog looking for handouts, but this time it competed with the unfamiliar singe of cheap sweat from another vixen like me. Smoke traces the contours of my disgust while I watch him fumble his shoes off at the door. I’m invisible. I ash with revulsion while smirking revenge. Darkness hides the cruelest intentions, even those ending in murder.
In my memory, while sightseeing, I stopped in a bar for lunch where I made friends with the workers. A friend of theirs invited me to his restaurant for dinner to try some typical Valencian food. I accepted, got the address and left.
In my memory, the meal was delicious. Afterwards, he escorted me– to keep me safe on the night streets.
In reality, I don’t remember the meal and I woke up in an alley, clothes ripped, bloody, bruised.
In reality, I still have a scar where he carved his initials, though I have no memory of his name.
Dribble, Drabble, Doom
This hill was steep as fuck, and it'd been five years since I last climbed. The path wound in a spiral to the edge of the cliff: The Craigs, they called them. As I neared the summit, a peace settled over me. This was it. This is where I belong. I stepped to the edge and closed my eyes. I breathed in the scent of heather and dew, rumbling of the pages of history screaming welcome home beloved one. Welcome home. The ground shook underfoot and the world spun faster in the wake of my return.
And then, I fell.
I sat in my grandmother's armchair, caving under the heavy weight of crippling depression. Since my sister's passing, every day has been an uphill battle. As I clung to her faded photo, a soft smile crossed my languid lips. I searched for the memory in its entirety as I drowned in the anguish of my loss. Every morning since, I found myself enmeshed in a relentless battle between life and death. I was suffering a slow emotional death, and regret flooded the shores of my tattered psyche. Had I done enough as a brother? My contrition rang out like lamentations.
For Whom We Are Strong
Searing pain flared in Ruth's knee with every step. Her body screamed at her to stop, begged her. But she refused. She knew that wasn't an option. She had to finish this.
"You okay, Mom?" Liam asked from his chair in front of her.
Ruth looked down at him, and the pain in her knee vanished. Instead, all she felt was love in an unfair world. Running a marathon was his dream, not hers. Thanks to his recent ALS diagnosis that dream had become impossible.
"I'm fine, honey," Ruth smiled.
"Push yourself, Mom," Liam encouraged. "And, well, push me too."
She squinted through her glasses at his quiet, studied form, taking tiny but significant steps across the garden. It didn’t take long to get to him. A polite cough chirped out to catch his attention but he didn’t look up and over at her.
Despite the cloud of smoke over his bent head, like a grey halo, she sat a few feet away. Ten seconds later, she shimmied the skirt of her long dress with her across the length of the oak bench, even closer.
He breathed a deeply impatient sigh, and eventually looked her way.
“Hi again”, she whispered.
On the Cliff’s Edge
I boldly stood on the edge of the cliff, knowing it was dangerous, not caring about the risk. And then it happened; I slipped. My feet swung in empty air, as my hands grasped unsuccessfully at the slippery edge, and I cried out in desperation, wishing that I hadn't disobeyed the only one who could save me. Then, out of the dark, a pair of warm hands grasped mine, pulling me back to solid ground. A pair of comforting arms wrapped tightly around me, and a voice said, "My child, even if you disobey me, I will never leave you."
Human cyborg 247 could tell there was a problem. There was a misfiring between the receptors in his memory area. This misfiring would most certainly reduce his processing speed, and without a doubt, his ability to function overall. He quickly grabbed the steaming pot of mixed mixed a.c.f.'s CH2 Cl2 from the counter and poured it into his liquid receptacle. The hot liquid instantly had an effect and he could feel his ability to function improving in just a few minutes. Soon he felt almost human. Doug sighed and poured coffee in his thermos. How does anyone survive without coffee?