The shadow baby swung upside-down on the monkey bars. There wasn't an actual corporeal baby, just a shadow of a baby. Its outline was most distinct at high afternoon when discarded fast food wrappers danced across the playground parking lot. The shadow baby cavorted from dawn to dusk, climbing and swinging on playground equipment. He scaled the domed monkey bars and skittered across teeter-totters. Late in the afternoon when the shadow of everything stretched toward a vanishing point on the horizon, shadow baby could be found building castles in the sandbox just before he disappeared for the night. The children were so used to the small shadow that they played unaffected by its presence. But attending mothers and nannies all shied from the haunting image that cavorted amongst their children. Adults didn't consider unattached shadows of babies swinging on monkey bars as natural. Shadows don't exist without tangible objects that cast them. Yet there it was, frolicking right along with their own kids. Sometimes during play, the children stopped and whispered something to shadow baby and even though it made no sound, its small body looked as if it were giggling or outright laughing. That unnerved the parents even more. The shadow baby ignored the adult’s superstitious fears. One day, the children didn't come to the playground, leaving shadow baby to play alone. Then the next day, heavy-set men showed up with large, angry sounding machines and the playground was bulldozed down and cleared away. The asphalt was scraped flat and bare. The shadow baby no longer had monkey bars to swing on or slides to ride. His bouncing image melted into the scrapped and scarred pavement where the playground once existed.
#fiction #short story #random object challenge #thriller #shadows #babies #playgrounds #william calkins
You hung me on your vanity,
Beside your brush and lace,
I see you every morning,
When I become your face.
My edges are made of plastic,
To hide my too-sharp ends,
I have no choice but to see you,
So we might as well be friends.
I help you with your makeup,
I tell you not to wear white,
When the camera tells you you're ugly,
I say you look alright.
I know you see things like me,
Throughout your busy day,
I don't mind; I just wait here,
To make sure you get home okay.
Sometimes you look at me and weep,
And I can't figure out why.
I see every part of you, you see,
And I would never lie.
You say your eyes are too dull,
You claim your nose is askew,
You tell me your face is too ugly,
For anyone to love you.
But you don't see what I see;
I see eyes that are full of life,
With a deft nose, and a strong face,
Able to overcome any strife.
But even though I see your face,
Each morning and every night,
You don't believe that you're beautiful,
And you don't think that I'm right.
So you bring your fist up to my face,
And you splinter it through my heart,
Your fist is bloody, but you raise it again,
Determined to tear me apart.
I now lay broken on your floor,
Beside your brush, beside your lace,
The last thing I think, before falling asleep,
Is I'm glad to have been your face.
i was made with care
and handed to my owner
sometimes she remembers
to place me on her wrist
other times I think she
forgets that I’m hers
*sighs* er, quite strange
how can she forget ’bout me
her beaded bracelet surely~
i just don’t understand it
at this rate I feel like maybe
i need to take another role
perhaps i can switch to
becoming what she needs
to tie her braids, or hair
whichever suits her really
as long as she remembers me
c’mon, i am made of beads
*clears throat* oh here she comes
oh~ she remembered to grab her
black hair tie— uh, that’s it I will
have a little chat with the hair tie
when they get back from the store-
*gasps*, never mind she’s picked me up
sunday. 20th October. 2019
The Loyal Old House
The old house stood strong as it had done for so many years protecting the family that lived within it’s walls. The House had watched the children be born within its walls, watched them grow up, and with great saddness watched them move away. That saddness was nothing compared to the day that the two remaining occupants decided that the house was to large for them, that they needed to sell the house and buy something smaller. The quiet house grieved in silence as it watched the family it had been so loyal to, so protective of, walk out of it’s front door for the last time.
I sat there for hours. Watching. Waiting. She'd be here any second. I knew it was past the time she was usually home.
I knew the time, of course. I glanced over to the door again. Nothing. I looked around the room and my eyes caught on him. There he was in the living room, sitting pretty, carefully polished by the cleaner every Tuesday at 2:39 pm. I mean, he would know that, too. My competitor, I thought bitterly to myself. No, no. I couldn't think that way. He was my... friend...? No, not that. I mean, we had never spoken, but she looked at him far more often. He was "a gift inherited from her grandfather". Psshhhhh. Whatever.
But he was in great condition. Enviously, I stared at his shining hands, his numbers, the creases all cleaned carefully, grooves free of annoying, uncomfortable dirt. He was tall, taking up space almost to the ceiling, unlike me, sitting like the little lazy tubby I am on the mantel. he could stand on the ground himself. I sighed to myself in my mind.
The lock of the front door clicked and she stumbled across the threshold, grocery bags overflowing in her arms. Not a second glance for me before she speed-walked into the kitchen. But hey, she was home.
Affaire de Montagne
Once more I get to prove my worth.
Eight months I wait for this very day.
I can hear the snow, its crisp and cold as he lays me in it.
The bindings are solid and ratchet tight.
The tuning is perfect, wax is solid but slick.
My edges are fresh, sharp and shining.
He’s been looking forward to this day as much as I have…
And we’re off.
The first few turns are always the hardest.
I’m doing my best to bend to his will.
We hate falling on the first run.
Understanding the snow takes time.
Its packed but not hard.
The new thin layer on top explodes into the air as we cut into it.
He’s getting the feel for it now.
I’m turning less and accelerating,
Speed is the goal now.
Carving is slow and calculated
Can’t lose speed.
The snow passes under me quickly now.
I barely have the time to feel it,
Or hear it.
It conforms to us now.
I can feel his mind is in another place.
His weight gently leans and guides me.
Knees absorbing the bumps and ruts,
We’re one with the hill.
And in only minutes it’s over.
I separate from his boots and we board the gondola.
Its time to live again,
Our affair with the mountain.
Made from death and sold with a dismissive intent. Bound and tied together then boxed and shipped. Lying on a shelf surrounded by replicas it catches the eye of a lonely and inspired sole who takes it home. Living on a desk, then in a bag, and in the hands of this person. Containing the thoughts and dreams, the doodles and drawings of a person looking for an outlet. Eventually, over time it holds characters in a world of their own. It becomes not just paper and ink, it becomes what this person will call their draft, their stories, and their diary. Then it sits on a shelf, then in a box, and then in a garage, because this person has found something they like more....a fresh holder of their mind and heart. A computer...
The Small Pink Rabbit
A small pink rabbit, sitting on my bed.
White floppy ears and an unstable head.
Tucked into a blanket, of Whinny the Pooh,
looking at stuffed animals thinking I'm no better than you.
Sitting on a bed of twin size,
sometimes herself, or in a desgise.
Bow coming undone,
from all her fun.
Is kept in bed, when not in a game or scene,
backing down from the humans, always so mean.
Does she feel lonely, or maybe controled,
but helplessly sitting there, for the future to unfold.
Every night, so very long,
a little girl comes, to sing her song.
She may curl up against her beloved Cuddles,
before slipping into into dreams, and her own befudles.
Than the girl leaves again, leaving Cuddles to her own mind,
though the rabbit will promise that the girl is kind.
She knows that the day is soon,
when a girl with plushies is considered a befoon.
The rabbit knows this semi-good life will draw to a close,
her big brown eyes, and little pink nose.
Put in a garbage can, and driven far away
to where the now-big-girl won't come to play.
I defined my owner's land proudly. I was strong being made of fine iron. Men worked for months crafting me into an elegant design. I was painted black with a glossy finish. People strolling by would say, "What a lovely fence!" I stood tall, surrounding a large southern mansion at the turn of the century.
Because of wars, World War I in particular, many of the fences like me were taken and used for metal. They say that I am "rare" whatever that means.
I was sold after the house was left in ruins because of the Civil War. A wealthy family in Vermont traveled far to move me to my new home. I still don't understand all this talk about "money."
I am privy to conversations no one else is supposed to hear.
Cars replaced the horses.
People are wearing some crazy things these days.
I have seen world leaders pass through my gate. Why do I not see the common man?
Where are the children, picnics, weddings and parties in the yard?
Africa My Fatherland.
OH AFRICA MY FATHERLAND!
Like a big whale flown to the shore,
Everyone cuts the meat and leave the carcass to rot.
Its smell diffuses and causes illness for others.
Importing everything, never ready to appreciate the fertile soil.
Oh Africa! Having but always in want.
When your bones are weary,
When confusion rises in your head,
You kill your fellow Africans for your fall as a bad workman quarrels with his tools.
Your kindred troop everywhere, home’s no more homely.
Living in illusion, vultures peck you.
With such “Okpolo” eyes, you claim to know.
Your plans and re plans are unending.
Always a giant in your dreams.
The Gargantuans among you put on “ big Agbada” but not covering shame.
Yes, they put on “Agbada” on top of coats as copycats they are.
You imitate the West till you forget your name.
You tell the history of others till you forget your origin.
Your leaders do not bother to play away match, a modern indirect rule.
The hospitals within are for the poor masses.
Your learning centers are falling “yaga yaga”, educated illiterates breed.
Who has bewitched you never to know when you’re falling?
Would you ever rise again?
Your children are escaping, thousands of them perish in the sea.
Millions of them sell their bodies for wealth.
Self made slaves!
Like a male dog, their fathers care not.
Father of too many, your children’s names are off your head.
Your pot is burning, burning “ yigi yigi yigi”
Your children cry for the blazing sun, while you sit on the “agara” like an old Pa.
Your pot is burning, but why would you worry?
Your food has been cooked in another pot.
How long would you hide the bread of the children?